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Gilchrist anxious to make amends for French horror show

 

Swamped: Grant Gilchrist and Scotland lost 32-3 to Les Bleus
Swamped: Grant Gilchrist and Scotland lost 32-3 to Les Bleus

By Andy Newport

Grant Gilchrist has begged Gregor Townsend to send him back out to face France next weekend as he seeks to make amends for his part in Scotland's horror show in Nice.

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The Edinburgh lock was part of the Dark Blues line-up humiliated on the Riviera by Les Bleus' crushing five-try victory.

The 32-3 drubbing was a disastrous start to the Scots' World Cup preparations and comes less than a month before they jet out to Japan.

Head coach Townsend, who names his final 31-man squad on September 3, has already announced there will be changes made to his XV when France make the return trip to Edinburgh next Saturday as he runs the rule over his next batch of contenders.

But Gilchrist hopes he will be given a second chance against Jacques Brunel's side at Murrayfield.

"I can only speak for myself but I would love to go out and right some wrongs next weekend," Gilchrist said.

"The chances are we'll make a lot of changes but I'd be desperate to get back out there, and I know the 23 guys who played on Saturday night will feel exactly the same.

"We let ourselves down and want desperately to have an opportunity to put that right.

"We represent a big group. The guys who played in Nice felt we let down the wider squad.

"We've all been working really hard. We were the lucky ones to go out there and get a chance to pull on the jersey and represent the group. But we let ourselves down.

"The 23 who play next week will be desperate to put that right. I fully believe we can do it. We've shown we can do it in the past.

"We just need to learn these lessons and turn it around."

Townsend has already cut four players from a 44-man pre-tournament training squad and another nine will be let go in between the final two warm-up clashes against Georgia.

But Gilchrist is keeping his fingers crossed that Townsend will not write off some hopefuls on the back of what he saw at the Allianz Riviera alone.

"Gregor definitely will be making some decisions that will count against some people," he added.

"But he has been looking at us for the last six weeks. I think it's fair to say that he won't judge us on one performance. He'll judge us over the whole piece."

Townsend boldly claimed before Saturday's mauling that his players have never been fitter. Yet there were worrying signs as the French looked quicker, slicker and stronger over the course of 80 morale-sapping minutes.

And Gilchrist admits Scotland must sharpen up their decision-making as well as their energy levels.

He said: "I feel we are all trying desperately to make things work out there.

"I don't think it was a lack of effort.

"It was poor execution and these things spiral. They look a lot worse than they are.

"They come from pretty simple errors and we'll be able to trace it back to a point where we can fix them.

"I don't doubt the effort of any of the boys but it's about working smart and I don't think we necessarily did that when we went behind. We started to unravel.

"We need to understand that the game of rugby is a lot more than just trying harder. You need to be smart and tactically get hold of the game, which is something we struggled to do."

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