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England forwards start to get ready for Scotland

Updated: September 26, 2011, 19:44


AUCKLAND, New Zealand(AP) England's forwards have begun getting in the mood for what should be an intensely physical Rugby World Cup encounter with Scotland by watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship on TV.

Backrower James Haskell says he, Matt Stevens, Lee Mears, Alex Corbisiero and Nick Easter watched the UFC before switching to training for the match at Eden Park.

Scotland needs to win to have any chance of reaching the quarterfinals.

Although England beat Scotland 22-16 in this year's Six Nations, the Scots competed well at the breakdown and could exploit what has been a weakness for England at the World Cup.

"If ever you want everyone to raise the bar, then facing a Scotland team that's been backed into a corner is it,'' Haskell said. "There will be full-on contact, as there always is, because you cannot go into a game against Scotland underprepared where they love that physical challenge.

"They are a big forward pack who will want to dominate us. They'll love nothing better than causing havoc in our set piece.''

England is unbeaten at home against Scotland since 1983, but has not beaten the Scots in the last three matches away from Twickenham.

"Every game it is like fighting for your life,'' said Haskell, who may again play at No. 8 after switching from openside to cover for Easter in the past two matches. "You need to put everything on the line. That's how a team wins a World Cup.

"We will be fighting this week as if it's our last game.''

It could be, if Argentina racks up its expected big win over Georgia and Scotland wins by more than seven points in Auckland.

History, at least, is in England's favor. Scotland's three wins over England in the last 20 years have all been by six points. England also won the only previous World Cup head-to-head 9-6 in the 1991 semifinals.

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