RWC23: Ireland v Scotland reaction: Townsend praises Irish excellence

"The way Irish rugby is set up, they could dominate World rugby for the next five to ten years"

Zander Fagerson comforts WP Nel after Scotland's heavy defeat to Ireland. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Zander Fagerson comforts WP Nel after Scotland's heavy defeat to Ireland. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Gregor Townsend claimed he was proud of the way his team bounced back from a catastrophic first half to avoid a record defeat against Ireland in Paris last night.

Despite his team being ejected from the World Cup at the end of the pool stage for the second consecutive time, the head coach was determined to stay positive

“Ireland were very clinical, very accurate and I thought they put a huge effort in defensively when we had a bit of pressure in that first 20 minutes,” said Townsend. “They are an outstanding team and we saw that tonight.


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“When you play the top teams, you’ve got to take your opportunities and we didn’t do that in the first quarter.  That was probably our best period of the game but when the game was lost we did come back into it.

“I’m proud of the effort in the second half. The game had gotten away from us, so we focused on winning back respect.
“To get two tries against such a top team, we’ll take a little bit out of this game.

“We’re very disappointed with the result and the first-half performance, but credit to Ireland who were very, very good.”

Townsend added that there is no need to press the panic button after this loss, but did concede that Ireland have set a benchmark Scotland must strive towards.

“We were drawn against the number one and number two teams in the world, and we lost to them both,” he said. “We’ve never beaten a team ranked above us in any World Cup we’ve played in, so you might have to go all the way back to 1987 to ask ‘can we do better?’

“We certainly have to do better, and the responsibility is mine. We believed we could get out of this pool, and we still believed that after losing to South Africa in our opening game. The response the players showed in training and the two other pool games we played against Tonga and Romania gave us an opportunity tonight – but we didn’t take it and Ireland did.

“They are a better team than us on tonight’s performance, and they’ve won 17 games in a row so they’ve clearly been the better team over the last couple of years.

“Now, if we can get on the journey they have been on the last few years then great – but it is easy saying that, it is another thing doing it.

“You become a better team through defeats as well as victories, and we’ve got to make sure that this defeat makes us a better team for the Six Nations coming up and the next World Cup, although at this point the Six Nations is much more relevant.”

With Scotland’s Under-20s side having managed just one win from their last three age-grade Six Nations campaigns, and failing to win promotion back into the top tier Junior World Championship this summer, there is significant anxiety that life is going to get harder and harder with lack of talent coming through to the senior team during the next World Cup cycle, but Townsend said he is not fatalistic about the situation.

“At a young level, that’s right. But I would say this World Cup has shown we’ve got really good depth in the top 30,” he reasoned. “We’ve got 33 players here and we made 12 changes between our last two games, so the players in this group and just outside this group are Test quality, but we have to get more players through.

“The way Irish rugby is set up, they could dominate World rugby for the next five to ten years, because they are the number one team in the world and they have a pro rugby system which is very strong, and they’ve got an age-group system that is very strong, so that should continue for them.

“We’ve got to do better. This group of players have got to fifth in the world, which is the best place we’ve ever been in terms of the Scotland national team, but we have to make sure that continues, not for the next couple of years but the next 10 years.”


RWC23: Ireland v Scotland: crushing defeat sends Scots home

About David Barnes 3995 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

52 Comments

  1. GT as head coach and the nonsense he has spouted during his time in charge is an embarrassment as his ego is writing checks his teams cant cash. Remember fastest rugby in the world etc etc. GT sincerely believes that he is a fantastic, foward thinking(no pun intended) and innovative coach but in reality all of his all expenses paid trips around the world visiting other coaches, other sports etc has made him simply confused, delusional, indecisive and a failure.

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    • Says someone who fails to spell the word cheque correctly and thinks he knows what other people think of themselves.

      The word delusional was used and I would suggest it best describes the abusive poster.

  2. “To get two tries against such a top team, we’ll take a little bit out of this game”.

    Seriously?

    How can the Head Coach of the 5-th best team in the world (and apparently the “best ever scotland team”) come out with this drivel after getting shellacked like that? So what exactly were his aspirations and belief going into this game after all?

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  3. There’s understandably a lot of frustration about yesterdays result and of course a lot of it is aimed at Townsend. We even get a few of the bring back Vern comments. Whilst I’m not suggesting Gregor is doing a great job we have to be realistic about the standard. I said previously few Scots would make a composite team. None of our forwards would get near their team. Man for man they are better. Many don’t have the natural abbrasiveness or physicality to be better than Irelands forwards a few might but that’s the reality – so a new coach can’t suddenly make them worldbeaters. We need to accept the talent we have. Clearly we should have got closer and as has been said by others there does seem to be a psychological block against Ireland. That was our best team last night.

    Regarding getting some bigger back row ball carriers. I don’t see any coming through but one option however that has been mentioned before is playing Skinner at 6 – he’s played for Exeter in the past and has that hard edge. Worth a try?

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  4. I just read the following comment from Townsend after the game “You become a better team for defeats as well as victories, and we have to make sure that this defeat makes us a better team for the Six Nations and for the next World Cup.”I believe that is the 9th defeat in a row to Ireland. Seriously the poor guy is utterly delusional. How many defeats is it going to take before we improve to the point of the game not being over by half time. FFS please for your own sanity as well as ours leave now.

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  5. Just reflecting on the picture that goes with this article. No doubt there will be a few players like Nel who have been great servants of the National team and wont make the next world cup or perhaps play for Scotland again. Just want to say thanks and remember the good days!

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  6. I was pretty upset last night but more pragmatic today. We’ve the best group of players for a generation but we’re a bit off in some key areas. I think we need to look at specialist forward coaching in particular line-out and breakdown aren’t at the very highest levels. I think the top teams have sussed out our defence and we maybe need a reshape there. With hindsight we might have been better with Harris over Jones as they targetted our 13 channel but I would put that down to good Irish analysis and execution than individual issues. Our execution and skill have let us down under the most intense pressure while we can work on the skills we probably need to play more games against the top 4 nations in the world to get more used to executing under intense pressure. In attack we need a plan for a rush defence and another out when Russell is targeted. We’ve known this for a while now but we dont seem any closer to finding a solution.

    I think we have improved on the mental side of things but we still have a long way to go. I feel there might be a confidence hangover from this game for some time so the more the support team can work with the players over the next few weeks the better.

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  7. Best team won but a few observations (for the game’s sake). The refereeing team and TMO ruined the game as a contest. Not just the clear obstruction by Beirne on Turner for Ireland’s first try or the foot in touch from the 50-22 but Sheehan constantly taking 2 steps sideways towards his own players before throwing the ball into the lineout. No wonder Scotland never got a sniff at the lineout – Sean Fitzpatrick turned this trick into an art form during the All Blacks heydays and it needs to be stamped out immediately. It’s cheating and it happened right in front of the touch judges who did nothing. Very few of Sheehan’s throws were straight and that’s why Scotland couldn’t compete. Andrew Porter scrummaging sideways (first pointed out as a “modus operandi” by Eddie Jones a few years ago …) causing the scrum to collapse in on itself and Nic Berry calls it against Scotland for walking the scrum round. The overhead replay showed clearly that Porter was boring in sideways when Scotland were shoving straight and it should have been a penalty to Scotland. Even the Irish co-commentator when seeing the overhead replay sounded sheepish in saying Scotland have been deemed to have walked that round “according to the referee”! Ireland scored immediately from that scrum and Nic Berry immediately awarded on-field try to Keenan when there is no way he could see from his position (15 yards away) whether Keenan had grounded the ball or not given the 3 Scottish defenders wrapped around him. Should have gone up to the TMO (even if a try was subsequently confirmed by TMO – for the record I think it would have been awarded a try but the point is Nic Berry should have gone to the TMO). The knock on for Bealham’s disallowed try at the end happened right in front of Nic Berry (he was 2 yards away) and he doesn’t see it but everyone watching in the stands and on TV and the TMO does. Ireland tacklers illegally disrupting on the floor and slowing down Scottish ball. Watching Ireland is like watching the All Blacks 20 years ago – they play outside the laws and if not refereed properly will win games by 20-30 points that otherwise would be closer. Scotland were never allowed to get a foothold in the game and as good as Ireland are Scotland’s inability to compete was also partly due to poor officiating. 2 takeaways for Scotland – (1) need to be more streetwise and play the refs if the refs are going to allow the top seeded teams to get away with this stuff (captain should openly call out the refs when clear infringements happen during the game that are not officiated properly as it will at least raise a debate within the game about the standard of officiating and weed out officials who don’t have the bottle to officiate at this level) and (2) Toonie’s style has been worked out and a more rounded game is needed with some bigger ball carriers and tacklers in the pack. We are too lightweight at the top level. Its great having all these world class loosies at 6 and 7 and playing the miss pass to create space in behind but it’s a one trick pony that doesn’t win you test matches at this level. No disrespect to Toonie as we were mugged by the officials last night which made the performance look a lot worse than the effort put in.

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    • World rugby really needs to decide what the TMO is actually there for.
      In some games they check only questions asked by the ref, in other games they are overruling the ref (the finger nail knock on by Samoa which had to be reviewed 7 times and zoomed to 500% which cancelled out a try being just one example). Tier 2 nations (and Scotland) came off very badly from a number of decisions in this WC causing many to start to question what is actually going on behind the scenes.

      Maybe Rassie Erasmus has a point.

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    • Sad that you list your gripes about the refereeing rather than focusing on the aspects of the game that Scotland can have an impact. The team is not good enough and fairly drastic organisational changes need to be made. The Irish schools and underage systems are streets ahead of Scotland. The Irish provinces especially Leinster are producing a conveyer belt of very talented young players.
      You just can’t be blaming the referees every time.

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      • I wasn’t blaming the officials for this defeat. It’s no disgrace to lose to this Ireland team who are world No.1 and definitely the most streetwise team in world rugby at the moment. Scotland desperately underperformed on the night – no question – but what I was pointing out is that the integrity of Rugby itself is at stake when refs and TMOs don’t call clear and obvious infringements that we all witnessed last Saturday night. Poor officiating against tier 2 teams has been a depressingly consistent theme at this WC, including against Scotland who have been on the receiving end since game 1. Some of the criticism levelled against Scotland by the media has been excessive and doesn’t reflect the full picture of what went down in Paris last Saturday night. This referee has previous form and as for the TMO – when you call out Scotland 3 on live TV in front of millions of viewers for instigating a fight with Ireland 10 when the whole world and his dog can see that Scotland 3 is 30 yards away in back play – well then you know there is a serious problem with quality control at World Rugby for appointing match officials. On the impact Scotland can make? I thought I clarified that in the latter part of my message but anyway I will have another go. I think Scotland has the best and deepest pool of players we’ve ever had and Toonie is a decent coach but I would rather have a coach in charge who will pick some of our bigger boys when we play the bigger teams instead of trying to run them off the park with 3 loosies in the back row. It was always going to be brutal up front on Saturday night but Toonie chose to go to a gunfight armed with a knife. At half time my mind drifted back to those hazy covid days of 2021 when we witnessed one of Scotland’s finest hours in Paris. I looked up the team we had out that night, which included some of our bigger boys (Skinner, Haining, Kebble and Craig) taking it to the big French pack and giving us decent front foot ball. Unfortunately our big players don’t fit into Toonie’s style of rugby and remain on the fringes as bit parts. Marcus Bradbury has played 19 times for Scotland and is apparently not good enough to get in the current Scotland squad but is good enough to play at the top level in the English premiership. Nathan Mcbeth showed up well last season at Glasgow and should be in the squad. I would also have prepared the players for the streetwise competitive edge that No.1 Ireland bring to all their games and how to manage that and shut it down during the game to ensure both teams get refereed consistently. It’s called game management, which includes managing the officials to ensure clear and obvious infringements, such as the illegal dummy run and block by Beirne on Turner that led to Ireland’s first try, are called out and get checked by the TMO. This current Ireland team would still have too much for us but it might have been a better spectacle, and also spared us the pain of watching Jamie Richie being helped off in agony, Darcy Graham looking like he had been beaten up in a street fight and poor Jack Dempsey being absolutely levelled late in the game when running up a quick tap penalty towards the Ireland line. Interestingly, NZ have already started calling Ireland out today on their competitive edge ahead of the clash on Saturday. It’s still only Monday so you can be sure as we get closer to Saturday Ian Foster, who will have wired in to what Scotland had to endure from the officials last Saturday night, will turn his attention to this saturday’s officials to try to ensure NZ don’t suffer the same.

    • Some reality is needed. Scotland were not “mugged” by the officials. They were well beaten by a vastly superior side.

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  8. Looking on the bright side. This should be a Ground Zero for Scottish rugby snd end of GT whis never been able to get the best out of this squad and this should also spell the end of the nepotism that’s rife in the Scottish Rugby.
    A new broom sweeping out Malinder, Murray and all the serial failures that have milking the SRU since GT got the job. This was truly a golden generation of players wasted by coaches at every level who are clearly dangerously under qualified. Lets stop buying in players and recruit coaches from outside, build a system that will spot and develop the real talent that is abundant in our rugby.

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    • Sweeping away the current Murrayfield rugby policy makers may indeed improve matters: what is needed is less chiefs and more workers at the coal face. Place experienced coaches in youth clubs, and demand more for and from youngsters. The reason that private schools produce good players is the time spent with their charges and the quality of coaching. Let’s do this for all.

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      • Reluctantly l have to agree with you on private schools. They do produce quality players however by definition they can’t produce players that have a nasty aggressiveness needed to compete against the SA or France. Given that they are self funded the SRU would be better spending money looking at state school for boys with a bit of fight. We always seem to be bludgeoned into defeat this is especially true of U20’s where our lack of physicality and courage has far to often been our downfall. As for last night we lacked a belligerence to crack the Irish defence.

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    • “by definition they can’t produce players that have a nasty aggressiveness needed to compete against the SA or France”

      As stupid comments go, that one is right up there. Well done.

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  9. Van Der merwe found out, as he often is against this level of opposition. Always dangerous with ball in hand but pretty clueless otherwise. Peter O’Mahony put him in his place as well.

    • at last someone who understands what I have been saying since day one do you think the saffers would let go a speciman like him if he was half decent.

  10. Rugby Fan is correct! While we may now find ourselves at something of a watershed on the international coaching front, Vern Cotter has seen his day and is not the solution to Scottish Rugby’s deep-rooted structural & organisational deficiencies.

    If Mr MacGregor knows anything about the practice of rugby, management and / or coaching at international or professional level he (again) manages to hide it well in those ridiculous swipes at GT, who, after all, didn’t re-appoint himself.

    The SRU is now overloaded, especially at the top, with Boards, groups & collectives of under-performing, out-of-their-depth individuals presiding over and manipulating useless so-called development & competition systems & structures, even in the domestic game (e.g. S6) that are producing little or nothing for the benefit of Scottish rugby generally – quite the reverse, to the long-term detriment of the grassroots core.

    Dodson, McGuigan, Crerar, Mallinder & co have much to answer for. AGM, anyone????

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    • I hold my hand up to “swipes”, but “Ridiculous”, no, although we are all entitled to an empirical opinion. At least I don’t hide behind an misguided nom de plum.

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  11. The first try was key. To lose that on two minutes and be 13-0 down (bearing in mind that we had to win by 8) was a huge psychological blow after all the hype. It looked too easy, but it was clearly a block to make the channel for the break, and yet again the TMO didn’t step in.

    We aren’t as good as Ireland or SA, and need the rub of the green to be competitive. The head to head in the first game was the same thing.

    This is still a very good Scotland team.

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    • It is a very good Scotland team but it has underachieved and that is what frustrates. They looked under prepared to play a fixture that should have been years in the planning.

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    • I am sorry but I think you are deluded. It is not a very good Scotland team because they can’t compete with the best teams in the tight forward positions. That is where rugby matches are won and lost. They can score in broken play situations but Ireland were in control completely until they subbed half their strongest team.

  12. The Scotland players didn’t give up and played with a good amount of spirit but rugby is a simple game and when you are simply blown away at the breakdown and on the gainline you lose.

    All the space Ireland had and the lack of it we had boils down to this.

    If we have the right forwards coaches not just in the Scotland team but also at the pro teams it might be possible to coach some improvements.

    We’ve also played twin opensides since at least 2015 and with a player like Crosbie coming into his prime maybe that needs a rethink.

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    • I’m sorry Jonny, I totally disagree, I don’t mind Scotland losing when they play with effort, intensity, integrity and make hard for the opposition, Scotland simple rolled over, it’s so embarrassing listening to players like Blair kinghorn pre match, with we’re going to end there run and we’ve worked out how to beat them, Peter’s reply was Scotland didn’t work out how to beat us and they have bigger fish to fry with NZ!

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  13. Take a close look at Ireland set up and set up similar in Scotland. Is it decisions at Murrayfield holding us back? Maybe that’s where a start should be made.

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    • They really, really need to make a concerted effort with state schools May. The private schools make an admirable fist of it but we are heavily dependent on them – excessively so actually. Yes, the Irish get most of their players from this source too but what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other, though there are of course learnings to be had from our neighbours over the sea. The reality in Scotland is the overwhelming majority of people go, or have gone to state schools. Think on how many potentially better players we have missed out on through the lack of promotion, positive messages about the game, poor coaching, poor developmental opportunities (particularly geographically related) and addressing concerns about how safe it is to play.

    • There are always a million solutions.
      Irish success has been built up over 30 years, we are probably where they were around 20 years ago.

      Ireland benefit from a really intense schools rugby bubble especially in Dublin but it’s not a recent innovation. Its foundation has been around for decades, the IRFU just had to build on it.

      Rugby is also the preeminent professional sport in Ireland with 4 teams unlike Scotland where there are several full time and part Time football leagues.

      • I went to a state school in the 90s and early 00s and our ‘season’ essentially amounted to sporadic games against schools within the region, the odd 15s tournament, the odd 7s tournament and the odd match against boarding schools. Some, but not all, within our school played too for the local club so we’d probably train 2-3 times weekly, typically with a match on the Saturday between school, club or district. There was no league for school, club nor district.
        Some mitigation can be applied in that rugby is far more tactical these days but I don’t recall getting much in the way of tactical instruction at all. We would do basic line-out drills (for club, none at school), some work on an archaic ‘scrum-machine’ and our training essentially amounted to circuit training, passing the ball along the line (admittedly with encouragement to run onto the ball), some ‘M1’, ‘M2’ moves in the backs, and some square drills on keeping low and passing the ball. Nothing on tactical kicking, no maul work, no S&C programme, nothing about clearing out rucks, no proper lineout drills. The surprising bit was we did alright but it was all about being fitter, tougher and faster than the opponent and getting the ball to the fastest lad on the wing.
        I can remember an article on here a while back defending the national team and calling out critics, besides boys who lacked application, skill etc to make it but this is absolutely not always the case. Between the ages of 14 and 16 is key as this is where the drop-off regularly occurs through lack of motivation, incentives, opportunities and coaches draining the fun out of the sport.

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  14. It would have been interesting to see how Scotland progressed if they had given Cotter longer as coach and the SRU hadn’t panicked and appointed Townsend. Before GT’s acolytes rave about GT’s record, remember he is the one responsible for our seeding ranking when the WC draw was made AND I fully expect that Cotter would have done equally as well, if not better, with the fixtures GT had from his appointment to date, given the recent decline of some nations and the friendly fixtures against some lower tier nations, had he, Cotter remained in office.

    Townsend will again be responsible for any change in ranking after the World Cup.

    I fear that the SRU have dug a hole for themselves by giving Townsend such a long extension of his contract before the World Cup and don’t suspect that it was “subject to review” after the tournament.

    With Scotland’s resources, I do not expect miracles but I do expect the coach to learn from his and the team’s mistakes and not constantly play in Groundhog mode against the better teams. We probably punch above our weight at times but get carried away with false optimism. A national character trait.

    The true acid test would be to see what Farrell could make of the Scotland squad and see if it’s pig’s ear syndrome. We’ll never know.

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    • Rubbish…much as GT should be gone he’s a massive upgrade on Cotter who hasn’t held onto a job since we let him go…..worst ever defeat to a declining England, no wins at all against SA NZ English or OZ …no away wins in 6n apart from Italy and with the easiest draw we have ever had in a rwc didn’t beat a single tier 1 nation. He was better than Scott Johnson and nothing more. An utter charlatan that has now been found out and can’t buy a head coach job these days. Look how much Fiji have improved since punting him. The Scotland players by and large hated him esp the forwards. Always took praise for the rare wins but never responsibility for the losses. His treatment of Brown and Barclay was despicable.

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      • There’s a consistent theme here. The poor little petals at Edinburgh couldn’t cope with Cockerill either. No wonder the teams lack backbone. I suspect that the NZ, SA and Irish forwards would have simply grinned and bore it and become gnarled, streetwise and competitive. Something Scotland sadly lacks in depth.

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      • If they (Scotland players and Edinburgh players under Cockerill) can’t take the heat, don’t go near the fire. That’s why the steel is lacking.

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    • Rugby Fan is correct! While we may now find ourselves at something of a watershed on the international coaching front, Vern Cotter has seen his day and is not the solution to Scottish Rugby’s deep-rooted structural & organisational deficiencies.

      If Mr MacGregor knows anything about the practice of rugby, management and / or coaching at international or professional level he (again) manages to hide it well in those ridiculous swipes at GT, who, after all, didn’t re-appoint himself.

      The SRU is now overloaded, especially at the top, with Boards, groups & collectives of under-performing, out-of-their-depth individuals presiding over and manipulating useless so-called development & competition systems & structures, even in the domestic game (e.g. S6) that are producing little or nothing for the benefit of Scottish rugby generally – quite the reverse, to the long-term detriment of the grassroots core.

      Dodson, McGuigan, Crerar, Mallinder & co have much to answer for. AGM, anyone????

  15. Firstly, Scotland are only 5th in the world due to a temporary period of mediocrity of England, Wales and Australia

    Also, GT talks of starting the journey that Ireland have been on. They’ve been on that journey for the last 20 years in terms of infrastructure, investment etc.
    It’s going to be a long haul to catch up – but so long as we win the Calcuta Cup, everything is rosy

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    • And another thing, fire the SRU PR/media dept that put the inane utterances into players mouths. Kinghorn, Ritchie et al are looking a bunch of ar**s this morning

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  16. I think we get a bit carried away with this world ranking of 5th. The top 4 are light years ahead of Scotland and below that the standard is as poor as it has been for years. The top 4 are playing a different game …. Look at the other side of the draw and the quality of fare on offer in the games there , it’s a completely different standard to the top 4. Are Scotland the best of the rest … maybe but not by much and the rest are decidedly average when compared to the top 4. I don’t think the ranking is necessarily a reflection of a huge improvement from Scotland but more a significant decline in others.
    I don’t think the draw was kind to us but we are light years away from having the potential to win the World Cup.
    Ireland were very good last night and Scotland were not. The differences in attacking play were stark.
    Jonny Sexton received the ball and had multiple options open to him. Finn Russell received the ball and had little or no options open to him. The Irish attacking structure is immense and is in place for 80 mins. Scotland had decent structure for the first 20 and then realised they didn’t have the weaponry to break down a huge Irish defence. From then on they looked , tired , disbelieving and out of ideas.I feel sorry for Russell , he has the pressure to pull something out of the bag but the team have to work to give him viable options in attack and Ireland gave Scotland a lesson in this last night. Sexton gets an armchair ride from his pack.
    No doubt Darge is the man for the future but it was the wrong call last night. Watsons physicality was required last night and a bizarre decision not to even have him on the bench.
    I thought Richie Gray had a big game last night and it has been pleasing to see him come back and play so well but he is reaching the age of retirement.
    Graham and VDM rarely came off their wings looking for work and given that’s the main reason Graham got the call , it was a disappointing to see both of these players lack any sort of influence last night.
    All in, a predictable outcome. Has this been a successful World Cup , I would suggest no. Scotland have been well beaten by the two teams above them and did as expected against the rest. This is probably the best squad Scotland have ever had from a depth perspective and given the state of Scottish Rugby it’s likely to be the best we have for some time to come. Worrying future when yiu see how other nations are pulling away. England and Australia will eventually click and get back to where they should be and the Pacific Island nations are getting stronger all the time. Personally I think the future looks a bit bleak for Scotland , the damage has already been done by the mismanagement of our domestic rugby structure and youth system and we are yet to understand exactly how much of an implication this will have at full international level.

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    • In the cold light of day that was probably a predictable result. Ireland knew what to do and had a plan to nullify us. Why wouldn’t they? They’ve done it to us and other teams often enough. Scotland were chasing the game after the first 5 minutes and fell into the old trap of lets avoid the easy points and take away no points. It might not have made much difference but I’m sick to death of hearing “take the points”, “come away with something everytime you’re in the 22”, we wouldn’t have won but we’d have kept ourselves in the fight.

      Perhaps world number 5 is actually pretty good for a country with 2 pro teams and where rugby isn’t the main sport. Maybe that’s as good as it gets unless there is a major sea change in the sport in Scotland. This world cup and the last couple of 6 nations show exactly where Scotland are. A decent team that can beat the likes of a poor england and wales, get good results against italy and maybe give France a scare.

      Looking at our pro teams and our youth teams it’s hard to see us being any better in 4 years than we are now.

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      • Realistic. Clearly the top 4 teams are a step above the rest and there is a decent shout that we’re better than the rest.

        Ireland show little to no weakness, we have a few.

        The margin of victory was larger than the 11 the bookies had down.

        Ireland are a hive mind and play entirely like a single unit. Most teams are incapable of dealing with this, for now.

  17. Bounced back… we only scored 14 points when Ireland pulled there best players from the pitch, all week I heard Scotland were going to do this and do that, wether that was media hype or players them selves, Scotland didn’t show up simple as that, they were second best to everything and didn’t have a plan B, we went side ways in possession, Ireland are a great team but we made them look even better, we just don’t have the man power to be a top nation or to push for major honours!! Scotland series need to have a look at them selves as a tier one nation team, nothing is coming through the academy’s cause the under 20’s are really bad, we can’t keep picking a nation from two pro teams and beyond! Scotland need to start looking at reality and being truthful to them selves as a organisation!!

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    • You’re entirely correct but incoming will be the establishment voices telling you how daft and ignorant you are and how we can’t genetically cope with the folk who have are also Celtic and therefore genetically bigger than us so we just have to keep buying south African PED cheats so we don’t lose 9 in a row to…..oh…wait….

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  18. Ireland are class, but Scotland were a mess from the start. I don’t really understand how anyone could find the performance anywhere near acceptable, especially for a side ranked 5th in the world. Organisation/defending/decision making were embarrassing, Scotland looked like a Tier 2 side at times. Ireland were in cruise mode by the time the two consolation tries were scored.

  19. Absolutely sick of hearing GT never criticise or be realistic about sub standard performances from professional rugby players and coaching staff. Another post match interview full of soundbites and waffle.”Proud of our 2nd half performance “, Too late ,damage done . “When you play top teams ,you have to take your opportunities when they come along ” did he not explain that to his captain before the game!!Who’s decision was it to not kick the goals in the first quarter !? It’s not like our lineout is brilliant. We are playing the No 1 team in the world and we don’t take points when they come along!! Afraid we look like and play like a team of talented individuals flung together ,no game plan or structure in any of our group matches . With the group of players Scotland have at the moment we will always win games of rugby ,no matter who is coaching them, but until we find a coach who can mould them into a team , we will never be serious contenders in a 6 nations or WC.

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    • You’re right. Most sports people (with very few exceptions) are inarticulate, idiotic spouters of easy cliché trained in inoffensive comment. What trained media sound-biting such as GT’s press conferences highlight is lack of personal oomf, willpower and, more importantly, personal brainpower. How people use words indicates how they use thought. And there’s zero currently emanating from GT’s heid.

      Lack of tactical nous, such as Scotland demonstrated in their abject failure against Ireland, originates in lack of coaching thought. And failure to apply simple intellectual disciplines such as planning. How to defend against (you name it). When to kick for points or a corner. How to read and exploit opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. None of this gets done on a training field, but needs to be transferred to it once the thinking has been completed.

      Don’t blame lack of money in the game. Blame lack of personal brainpower in the team selection and tactics cupboard. That’s what needs to be done before any studs get put into boots. And it’s brainpower encourages investors.

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  20. Thanks for leaving Horne on bench so we were dead by HT…..a fecking gain….learning curve really isnt GT thing is it

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    • Yeah, can’t help but think the failure to pick Horne from the start can only be personal. I thought Finn, Dempsey, Tuipulotu played to expectation. No criticism there. As to the rest of the backs, well, obviously a big hole in no. 13 spot defensively, although where were the flankers? A 2nd row man to stop Ringrose?

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