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The 2021 game that Scotland will draw on against Ireland

By PA
(Photo by Loic Baratoux/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Grant Gilchrist has called on Scotland to draw on memories of Paris 2021 as they bid to keep their World Cup dream alive with another huge result in the French capital against Ireland on Saturday night.

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The Scots must defeat the world’s number one side at Stade de France, either with a bonus point or by denying their opponents a losing bonus, if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Given they have lost their last eight matches against the Irish and have not defeated them by the required margin since 2007, Gregor Townsend’s team are likely to require an epic performance.

Asked if there were any particular displays in recent years that showed Scotland can achieve their objective this weekend, second-rower Gilchrist recalled their last win at Stade de France, when they overcame a red card for Finn Russell to end a 22-year wait for victory in Paris by defeating France 27-23 in March 2021.

“There are a few games, one of them was in this stadium when we beat France in 2021, the way we defended in that game, being a man down at the end and came back and went through multi-phases, that’s the levels of effort we will require,” Gilchrist said.

“Big games we’ve had recently against England, away at Twickenham where we have had bad records, there are similarities there.

“This Irish team has done things that this Scotland team haven’t done, and we know that beating Ireland on a big stage is something that we have not done, but that is what excites us.

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“That is why we need to go out and give our all for our country and for ourselves to get into the quarter-final.”

Gilchrist has warned the Irish that Scotland will be charged with passion as they bid to pull off one of the biggest victories in their history.

“There has to be an increase in emotion as this is as big a moment as you will get in your career,” said the 33-year-old lock. “It’s all or nothing.

“The challenge is hugely exciting, it’s the stuff of dreams for the players to go out into an arena like this with everything on the line.

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“It’s about bringing that emotion. It’s about not being scared of it, we are going to embrace it. We are going to put absolutely everything we’ve got into this game. We believe that is going to be enough to win.

“The motivation and emotion is all there. Can we deliver that nine out of 10 performance against the world’s best team?”

Gilchrist outlined Scotland’s plan to assert themselves early in the game but – having mounted some stirring fightbacks in recent years – he is adamant they will not be fazed if they fall behind.

“A fast start will be important, against any of the best sides in world rugby you don’t want to be chasing the game,” he said.

“We always believe the next moment is the most important. If we do concede a try in the first minute, the game is not lost.

“It’s our response to things going wrong that will be more important than things actually going wrong.

“We are playing against the best team in the world so of course things are going to go against us. It’s about getting more things for us than against us. The mental side will be just as important as the physical side.”

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