Scotland ‘battered’ by Ireland despite ‘spot-on’ preparation – Stuart Hogg

In Rugby


Stuart Hogg won his 70th Scotland cap in Yokohama but it was not a happy occasion for his Scotland side

Scotland were “battered” by Ireland in their Rugby World Cup opener despite “spot-on” preparations, says full-back Stuart Hogg.

Gregor Townsend’s team delivered a tame display in Sunday’s 27-3 Pool A hammering in Yokohama.

The inaccurate Scots were overpowered by an Ireland side that pounced on their errors and scored four tries.

“I’ve never been involved in a Scotland camp that the preparation has been as spot-on,” Hogg, 27, told BBC Scotland.

“Unfortunately we’ve just not stood up and we’ve been battered.”

Scotland found themselves three tries and 16 points down after just 25 minutes, with James Ryan, Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong all crossing, Greig Laidlaw’s penalty their only riposte. Much of Ireland’s attacking success stemmed from Scottish mistakes.

Andrew Conway killed the contest early in the second half after Ryan Wilson spilled a high ball and Jack Carty clipped over a late penalty to complete a miserable day for Townsend and his men.

The heavy defeat consigns Scotland to bottom spot in Pool A, behind Russia on points difference. They tackle Samoa next Monday, before facing the Russians and concluding the group phase with a potentially decisive showdown with host nation Japan.

“We talked a lot during the week about not beating ourselves and we coughed up the ball a few times and gave away silly penalties,” added Hogg, who won his 70th cap on Sunday.

“We were on the receiving end of five-metre maul line-outs and when Ireland get rumbling, they’re very, very difficult to stop.

“We’ll learn and be better for this experience but in Test-match rugby you can’t afford to let opportunities slip and unfortunately that one’s just slipped past us.

“We’ve got the quality within the squad to bounce back now. It’s all about reviewing this in a positive light and making sure we learn from our mistakes.”

In the first of four World Cup warm-up matches, Scotland were dealt a similar beating by France in Nice, delivering a desperate performance in a 32-3 defeat.

Lock Grant Gilchrist admitted Sunday’s showing bore hallmarks of that awful display.

“We moved on from Nice and had three much better performances and thought we were in a much better place,” he said.

“To have certain aspects of our game that were similar was bitterly disappointing but we can also look at that and the way we reacted. We beat France the week after and then had two more positive results [heavy wins over Georgia].

“We have to do exactly the same as we did then. We take our medicine, we look at how we can get better and we have to be for the next three games.”

‘Big questions for Townsend’ – analysis

Former Scotland prop Peter Wright on BBC Radio Scotland

If I was a Scotland player, I’d be embarrassed by that performance. And I’d stay away from social media as there are former internationals on there giving it laldy with the criticism of the team.

What matters now is how the players react in the game against Samoa.

Former Scotland captain Rory Lawson

This is a two-out-of-10 performance at best from Scotland. Big questions will be asked of Gregor Townsend.

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