RWC 2023

'I'm not going to answer that': Townsend refuses specific Ireland question

October 2, 2023 10:18 am

[Source: Rugby Pass]

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend refused to be drawn on a specific question about his side’s next Pool B opponent, the sport’s number one side Ireland.

Scotland and Ireland will face off in a mouthwatering pool of death decider that will ultimately determine who makes it to a quarter-final berth and in what order.

Following Scotland’s crushing 84-0 victory over Romania in Lille, Townsend was asked did he think Ireland’s quarter-final curse would have any bearing on Andy Farrell’s men, who have never made it past the first knockout stage of the Rugby World Cup.

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“I am not going to answer that question,” replied Townsend. “Ireland are the number one team in the world, they are on the back of 16 [consecutive] wins so I’m sure they aren’t thinking about what has happened in previous tournaments.

“They have got a lot of confidence in how they have played over the last two or three years and they’ll take a lot of confidence from the last game they managed to get a win there [South Africa match].”

The 50-year-old was also quizzed on his selection thoughts ahead of what is effectively a knockout game for Scotland, who need a bonus point win or a win that denies Ireland a losing bonus point.

“We will sit down tomorrow night and discuss selection. But this gives us really good momentum going into a training week ahead of our biggest game of the World Cup. It’s a credit to the 23 tonight who have trained and played well.

“I thought our intent to work hard was right there from the beginning and was carried on throughout the game. Romania were very physical, it was tough conditions with the wet ball. We managed the physicality and we kept the performance going.”

Scotland look like they have a full deck of players to choose from for the Ireland game, with nothing bar the ‘usual’ post-game bangs and niggles.

“No, they’re the usual straight-after-a-game collisions. Ollie [Smith] got whacked in his shins, I thought Kyle [Steyn] did very well to get over his jarred ankle but he played 80 minutes, so he feels he will be good to go for next week.”