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Georgia pose a threat before Irish showdown, says Townsend

 

Respect: Gregor Townsend knows Georgia are dangerous
Respect: Gregor Townsend knows Georgia are dangerous

By Andy Newport

Gregor Townsend has warned his Scotland side to be on their guard for Georgia's attempts to wreck their World Cup send-off.

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The Dark Blues round off their warm-up schedule against the Lelos at Murrayfield tonight before jetting out for Japan first thing on Monday morning.

Having beaten France at home and then thumped the Georgians in Tbilisi last week, Townsend is desperate to keep the Scots' momentum building ahead of their tournament opener with Ireland on September 22.

But even though his side were good enough to run in five tries in a 44-10 win at the Dinamo Arena six days ago, the head coach is worried about them suffering an upset that could spark a crisis of confidence at the worst possible moment.

He said: "I told the players that we can't take this game lightly. We put a lot of hard work into last week's performance, analysed the opposition and focused on what we needed to do to win away from home.

"But it's not going to come out this time if we're complacent in any way."

Townsend has wrapped up a string of his big name players in cotton wool as he looks to protect the likes of skipper Stuart McInally, Fraser Brown, John Barclay, Greig Laidlaw, Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg from the risk of injury. And he admits he has already got a provisional XV in mind for facing Joe Schmidt's men in Yokohama.

"I suppose I'm reasonably close," he said.

"We've seen through training and through games, and what the players have done previously for Scotland, on what would look like a strong 15, a strong 23 for Ireland.

"But there are positions that are still very competitive. There are blends that we're still looking at, that might suit a team like Ireland but maybe not suit a team like (fellow Group A rivals) Samoa or Russia or Japan.

"So selection hasn't been decided, but certainly a lot of players have put their hands up to be in that game."

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