The points margin Scotland need against Ireland to make QFs
Steve Tandy is adamant Scotland must focus simply on trying to defeat Ireland rather than getting tied up with the permutations that bonus points could have in the battle for quarter-final qualification.
The two sides meet in Paris on Saturday in arguably the most significant match of the World Cup pool stage, with one of the top five teams in the world set to be eliminated this weekend.
From Scotland’s perspective, they must defeat Ireland either with a bonus point or by denying the world’s highest-ranked team a losing bonus in order to reach the last eight.
Asked how much the chase for points – as opposed to just needing a win – might alter the Scots’ mindset going into the Stade de France showdown, defence coach Tandy said: “I think it’s minor. I don’t think we can think too far ahead too early because they’re an outstanding team.
“The later the game goes, we’ll obviously be aware of things and what the scoreline is and the permutations are. But ultimately our focus to start with will just be on winning the game.”
The Scots go into Saturday’s match in good fettle after scoring 19 tries in their last two matches against Tonga and Romania to keep themselves in contention following their 18-3 defeat by South Africa on the first weekend of the tournament.
They have lost each of their last eight matches against the Irish but Tandy is confident they can halt that run when the stakes are at their highest in the French capital.
“Performances over the last few years give us belief,” he said. “I know we haven’t knocked over Ireland but there’s always a first time.
“It would be special to do it this weekend. We have an unbelievable opportunity to play Ireland in the World Cup and it will be an amazing atmosphere. We’re just super-excited to get out there on Saturday night.”
After beating Romania in Lille, at the very north of France, the Scots flew back to their base in the south, near Nice, on Sunday afternoon to gear up for Ireland. They will then fly back up to Paris on Thursday.
Asked for the rationale behind returning to the Cote d’Azur between their two closing pool matches, as opposed to remaining in the north, Tandy said: “I don’t think it’s massive travel for us. It’s only an hour and a bit.
“We’re always looked after when we get in and out of places. The base we’ve been training at has been brilliant. There’s familiarity there. The little bits of travelling are not major issues.
“The boys are used to it now in terms of what that looks like. We come back up to Paris on Thursday and it’ll be fine, we don’t see that as an issue. We’re back to what we’re used to (in Nice).
“The boys like it there. We’ve got a base we’re familiar with and the training facilities are excellent. And that little bit of sun just makes everyone a little bit happier as well.
“The travel and everything is so smooth that it’s no real issue for us.”
Join free and tell us what you really think!Sign up for free