Peter Wright and John Henderson begin the defence of their Cazoo World Cup of Darts crown in Frankfurt on Friday, and Wright insists they have nothing to fear as he bids to lead Scotland to a third title in four years.
The reigning champions face Hong Kong in their opener at the Eissporthalle, with Lee Lok Yin and Ching Ho Tung making their debuts for the 2015 quarter-finalists.
The Scots defied the odds to defeat four-time winners Netherlands and 2020 champions Wales en route to glory 12 months ago, before denying Austria’s Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez in a memorable final.
Wright also lifted Scotland’s maiden World Cup title alongside Gary Anderson in 2019, and the two-time World Champions were set to renew their partnership in this year’s showpiece.
However, Anderson opted to step aside, insisting that Henderson should be given the opportunity to defend his title at the four-day festival of darts.
“Me and Gary discussed it during the Premier League,” revealed Wright.
“Gary was up for the World Cup, but then he thought it would be nice for John to come and try to defend the title, which I’m sure we will.
“I’m really looking forward to playing alongside John again. It’s going to be fantastic.”
Wright has experienced euphoria and heartbreak in equal measure during his World Cup career, losing finals against England and Netherlands in 2015 and 2018 respectively.
The world number one is also the only player in this year’s edition to have lifted multiple World Cup titles, and he admits representing your country provides a different dynamic.
“You cannot explain the feeling of winning. It’s incredible,” said Wright, making his eighth World Cup of Darts appearance.
“You’re doing it for the whole of Scotland that are watching and supporting us. It is a very special moment.
“It’s probably one of the hardest tournaments for a player, because you’re not just playing for yourself.
“If you don’t perform, you’re not just letting yourself down, you’re letting your partner down, your country down.
“You sometimes try too hard which I’ve done in the past when I’ve lost in finals with Gary, but I’ve learnt from that.”
Henderson heads to Frankfurt fresh from reaching a first Pro Tour quarter-final of 2022 on Tuesday, while Wright suffered a whitewash defeat to Kim Huybrechts at the same stage on Wednesday.
Despite this, the World Champion, who also missed out on a Cazoo Premier League Play-Off spot last month, is unperturbed by recent results as he eyes another slice of darting history for Scotland.
“I know my game is there. I know I’m playing well; it’s just not coming out in competition at the moment,” the 52-year-old added.
“John is just starting to play some nice darts, and I need to produce on the board this weekend, which I will do.
“We had the toughest section last year, and we’ve got the toughest section again! We handled it last year, so why can’t we do the same again?
“My target is to be 200% ready for the World Matchplay, but my first job is this weekend, and I am fully focused on getting Wrighty back to how he should be playing darts.”
2022 Cazoo World Cup of Darts
Friday June 17 (1900 local time)
First Round x8
Latvia v Hungary
Poland v USA
Sweden v South Africa
Portugal v Italy
Australia v Lithuania
England v Czech Republic
Scotland v Hong Kong
Belgium v Japan
Best of nine legs Doubles