Scotland’s Townsend faces decisions for Ireland showdown

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v Ireland - BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain - March 14, 2021 Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

LILLE, France (Reuters) -Scotland coach Gregor Townsend got the performance he wanted and perhaps a selection headache after his side romped to a 12-try 84-0 victory over Romania on Saturday to keep their World Cup quarter-final hopes alive.

Scotland head to Paris next week for a showdown with Ireland where a victory could put them into the knockout phase at the expense of either the Irish or South Africa.

Townsend’s much-changed team brushed aside Romania having led 42-0 at halftime.

“I thought our intent to work hard was there right from the beginning and was carried on throughout the game,” the coach said.

“There was a togetherness in the squad. Romania were very physical, it was tough conditions with the wet ball. We managed the physicality and we kept the performance going.

“Full credit to the players, their attitude all week has been excellent and they did a professional job. Some of the individual tries, and more importantly the teamwork, was excellent.”

Winger Darcy Graham scored four tries to match Gavin Hastings’ World Cup record for Scotland set against Ivory Coast in 1995, the highlight of an excellent team performance that will give Townsend food for thought ahead of the Ireland game.

“We will sit down tomorrow night (Sunday) and discuss selection,” he said. “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.”

Townsend said the bonus-point gained against Romania gave them clarity about what they need to do next weekend.

“We’ve got to produce probably our best performance of the year, one of our best ever performances,” he said.

“That’s the whole goal of why we are working in training and what we’ve learned this year. It’ll be a cracking game, Stade de France full of Scotland and Ireland fans.”

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