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Rugby

"A lot of people in Scotland would wish they were more like Ireland"

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

10:38 8 Oct 2019


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Thanks to Ireland, Scotland's Rugby World Cup got off to a disastrous start.

While the Irish side would endure less favourable fortunes in the next couple of pool games, the Scots already had a mountain to climb.

But as the final round of pool games approach, Scotland still have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.

Presuming they see off minnows Russia comfortably on Wednesday, they will face a winner-takes-all clash against Japan - whilst Ireland play Samoa, aiming to seal their own progression.

BBC Scotland journalist Tom English joined us to discuss where the Scottish find themselves on Tuesday's OTB AM.

"I think they're exactly where they thought they would be," he said.

"They thought they would lose to Ireland. But they didn't expect to lose as dismally. So that was a major blow.

"They thought they would beat Samoa, which they have done. They're playing Russia [on Wednesday], and they would expect to beat them with scoring four tries.

"And when the draw was made, everyone in Scotland would have said that it's going to come down to the final game: Scotland vs Japan. And that's the case."

Yo-Yo Team

As English pointed out, the Scottish team veer between excellence and crushing lows.

"They're a yo-yo team and are desperately looking for a level of consistency," he said.

He also added that Gregor Townsend is likely to stick with the core of the team that beat Samoa for the Japan showdown.

"I think he'll go back to the team that beat Samoa. I don't think it will be a conservative team," he said.

But is there an appetite for more structure and pragmastism in order to engineer success?

"Scotland haven't won anything in 20 years and Ireland have won European Cups, Grand Slams, Six Nations Championships," he said.

"So I think the Scottish rugby fans would say, 'You know what? Give us a bit of boring. We're happy to do boring if it means we win something.'

"Because the country is starved. Starved, not even of trophies, but even a challenge for a trophy. There has been nothing in 20 years."

He added: "A lot of people in Scotland, while admiring the way they play, would wish they were a bit more like Ireland."

But English also pointed out that the Scots were more pragmatic and intelligent against Samoa last time out.

You can watch the full chat with Tom English above via YouTube.


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Gregor Townsend Ireland Japan Off The Ball Rugby Russia Samoa Scotland Tom English

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