Scotland coach Nathan Graham is confident he can get his side up to play Australia despite making the worst possible start to their World Cup campaign with a 28-4 defeat by Italy in Group B in Newcastle.
The Bravehearts, who were quarter-finalists in 2013, went into the game as favourites but are now destined for the wooden spoon following a lifeless display in front of a 6,206 crowd at Kingston Park, where winger Jake Maizen scored the first hat-trick of the tournament.
Scotland were outclassed by their lowly opponents but Graham remains excited by the prospect of taking on the defending champions in Coventry on Friday night.
“We’re playing the world champions next and, if we can’t get up for that game, we don’t deserve to be here,” Graham said.
“It’s a quick turnaround so we’ve got to get the bodies right and, more importantly, our heads right and come up with a game plan for Australia.
Nathan Graham: I expected to win
“I expected to win,” Graham continued. “I thought our personnel was good enough to get the win,” Graham said.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot. You’ve got to build pressure but we showed a bit of white-line fever at times and came up with a few unforced errors.
“The positives were that our half-back pairing of Calum Gahan and Bailey Hayward got to play together for the first time. They’re young kids and they’ve one game more than they had building into next week.”