Home Rugby “Japan & Ireland Are Still Favourites” – Townsend On Scotland’s Prospects

“Japan & Ireland Are Still Favourites” – Townsend On Scotland’s Prospects

KOBE, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 30: Gregor Townsend, Head coach of Scotland looks on as he walks on the pitch prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A game between Scotland and Samoa at Kobe Misaki Stadium on September 30, 2019 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. (Photo by Francois Nel - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend is remaining cautious about his sides’ chances of qualifying from Pool A following today’s 34-0 win over Samoa. 

Scotland currently lie in third position in the pool table following today’s bonus point victory and the result piles even more pressure on their final group game against Japan on October 13.

As it stands, the host nation top the group following their surprise win over Ireland at the weekend with Joe Schmidt’s side securing the runners-up spot for the knockout stages.

Townsend maintains that Scotland must get maximum points from their remaining games in they are to push for a qualifying spot.

“We are still in the tournament, that is what this win means. The bonus point gives us the opportunity to go into the next game and aim to get maximum points in that game. If we do that, it will be a game against Japan to see who goes into the quarter-finals.

“Japan and Ireland are still favourites. We have to win our next two games and pick up at least one bonus point or two.”

Monday’s impressive win over the Samoans in the humid and greasy conditions showed a vast improvement from their performance against Ireland in the opening round.

The 46-year-old believes his side gave a true account of themselves in Kobe.

“Going into the game, just to win and have a better performance was the target. Anything extra would have been an exceptional performance, and that’s what it was, especially in that first half.

“That was a true reflection of who we are and what we are capable of, what playing for Scotland means for all the players. That was a tough challenge we had to face, knowing if we didn’t perform tonight we would be out of the World Cup.

“Last week we did miss the start of the game and I take responsibility for not preparing the team well enough to start well against Ireland. But that doesn’t make us a bad team and it was great to see them get the reward for all that effort.”

“Credit to the players and defence coach Matt Taylor, who has done a fantastic job. They defended with real passion tonight, they got off the line and made some big hits on some big men.

“They are a very dangerous team and still caused us some problems right at the end, but the defence throughout the game was outstanding.”

Next up for Townsend’s men is a trip to Shizuoka to face Russia on October 9 before that all-important final game against Japan four days later.

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About Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter