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Scotland cannot dwell on Ireland defeat, says defence coach Matt Taylor

Gregor Townsend’s team are looking to bounce back against Samoa.

Matt Taylor wants to see Scotland bounce back against Samoa (Ian Rutherford/PA)
Matt Taylor wants to see Scotland bounce back against Samoa (Ian Rutherford/PA)

By Andy Newport, PA, Kobe

Scotland have been told to draw a line under their Ireland debacle or risk letting the mood of despair ruin attempts to get their World Cup back on track against Samoa.

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Defence coach Matt Taylor admits he still has no idea what caused Sunday’s shambolic performance in Yokohama as the Dark Blues crumbled to a 27-3 defeat.

But he warned that focusing too much on their dismal Pool A opener will make it harder for the Scots to lift themselves for Monday’s do-or-die clash with the Pacific Islanders in Kobe.

He said: “We were pretty brutally honest with the review. We said ‘that part’s gone, we can’t get it back’. We’ve focused on today’s training session. We’ve got to make the few days we’ve got to prepare for Samoa count.

“I can understand that everybody is disappointed. I’m disappointed. The boys are disappointed.

“We don’t go into these games not to prepare well. We go out to perform to the best of our abilities. We didn’t do that and we’re disappointed. Maybe the occasion got to us, I’m not sure. It’s difficult for me to say.

“If I knew the answers I’d be able to turn it around directly and make sure it never happens again. But we’ll do everything in our power to put in a performance the country can be proud of against Samoa.

“I’m sitting here. I’m frustrated. Everybody is frustrated. But we’ve got to move on. The Ireland game is gone. We’re disappointed with it, but it’s gone.

“If we dwell on that, it seeps into Samoa. We’re going to do a good job on Samoa. I’m sitting here saying that we will – I’ll be disappointed if I’m sitting here in a week’s time and we don’t.

“But I’m sure the boys are pretty focused on doing just that.”

There were plenty of bold predictions coming from the Scotland camp in the lead up to their meeting with Joe Schmidt’s side but they were made to look foolish as Gregor Townsend’s team contributed to their own downfall.

The criticism that has followed since has not been sparing but Taylor believes his side can win over their doubters with an improved display at the Misaki Stadium.

“The criticism was tough to hear,” admitted the former Scotland A forward. “After losing to France in Nice during the warm-up games we had a good conversation and seemed to be able to turn it around.

“But we came up against the number one side in the world and if you’re not up to your best as a team you will come second and that’s unfortunately the way it went.

“We’ve got Samoa this week and we’ll be looking to put those things right. We’ve got to be more full on than we were at the weekend and be more aggressive. We’ve spoken about that and we’ll see the response at the weekend.”

But Taylor was still at a loss for the reasons behind the abject start on Sunday that allowed Ireland to score three tries inside 26 minutes.

“Not sure,” was his curt reply when first asked for an explanation, before adding: “Yeah it’s disappointing. We can’t put our finger on it. We’ve spoken about it. All we can do is move on and make sure the next game is right.

“Sometimes in big events teams don’t perform and unfortunately that’s the way it was. Samoa now gives us lots of challenges but I’d be hoping the boys would be pretty keen to get up and smash them as we need to do that.

“If we don’t do that then it’s going to be tough. They play with a lot of width, they are big explosive athletes and we’ve got to make sure we get up with our line speed and knock them over.”

PA

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