The task at hand for Scotland's World Cup squad once again looks clear-cut - a slot in the quarterfinals is the bottom line and anything else would be a bonus.
The Scots have never failed to reach the last eight in the six World Cups contested so far and even made it as far as the semifinals in 1991.
But this year, the Scots are seeded just third in their pool behind England and Argentina, the two teams they will face up to after, they hope, picking up full points against Romania and Georgia.
Much will depend on the coaching and inspirational skills of Andy Robinson, who tasted World Cup success with England in Australia in 2003 when he was assistant coach to Clive Woodward.
The former flank took over as coach of a struggling Scotland in June 2009 and, on his own admission, his record to date is at best a mixed bag.
A two-Test series win in Argentina last summer was followed by an impressive victory over world champions South Africa in November promising much for the 2011 Six Nations.
But that new dawn failed to materialise as Scotland narrowly avoided the wooden spoon by defeating Italy at home.
The Scottish selectors though have shown faith in the abilities of Robinson whose contract has been extended to take in the next World Cup in 2015 and he believes that his side can compete with the best if they continue to improve.
"I have belief that Scotland can win against any team we play against - if we play at our very best," he said.
"As coaches and players you're looking at how you can improve, and we're always looking to get better.
"What is key for us is that we are able to peak when we play Romania or Georgia and that's where our focus is, to get a starting XV really able to deliver in those games," added Robinson.
A narrow win over Ireland at Murrayfield has helped boost morale with a second and final warmup match scheduled against Italy at the same venue on Saturday.
But there are still nagging doubts over several positions, especially at halfback and in midfield.
The problem that has dogged Scottish rugby over recent years has been a palpable lack of tries and penetration from the back division and Robinson will hope that the Lamont brothers, Sean and Rory, or wings Max Evans and Simon Danielli can hone their attacking instincts against Romania and Georgia before the two crunch games against Argentina in Wellington and England in Auckland.
If not he will likely have to revert to the boot of Dan Parks at flyhalf and the immaculate place-kicking of veteran Chris Paterson.
It was Paterson that nudged the Scots over the line and into the quarterfinals against Fiji in Australia in 2003 and against Italy in France four years ago and at 33 he looks likely once again to be a key member of the squad.
He expects that once more it will be a desperately-close contest to reach the quarterfinals.
"It's a tough group," Paterson said.
"We're the third seeded team in the pool of five, so we have to beat two teams that are ranked above us in the world rankings - Argentina and England.
"They're teams we know we can beat, that we've beaten in recent times, but if you don't play well they're teams that can sting you as well."
The Scots have strong points as well though, notably with a glut of top-class loose forwards and a strong boiler-room made up of veteran Nathan Hines and the emerging talent of Richie Gray.
Won eight caps for England between 1988 and 1995 as an unusually small flank and he then quickly emerged as a real coaching talent being a valuable assistant to Clive Wooward in Australia in 2003 when England won the World Cup for the first time. Took over as England coach in 2004 but lasted only two years before losing his job. He promptly headed north of the border and after a spell as coach at Edinburgh, he took over the Scotland job in June, 2009. Has had limited success since then, but is still highly-rated by players and selectors.
Dan Parks - flyhalf
The Australian-born No.10 has many detractors even after winning 61 caps for Scotland since making his debut in 2004 and is not sure of being in the starting lineup. His tactical kicking skills are top class, but he has failed to inspire and find a way of releasing a Scottish back division which has struggled to score tries. The Cardiff Blues playmaker has been working hard at developing his game with ball in hand and if that clicks into place in New Zealand, Scotland could prosper.
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