Grant Gilchrist has hit back at the critics who have questioned Scotland’s commitment in the wake of their dismal World Cup opener – insisting: “No-one is more pissed off than us”.
The post mortem to Sunday’s shocking 27-3 loss to Ireland continues to rumble on, fuelled by Gregor Townsend’s confession that the Scots lacked the “energy, accuracy or aggression” needed to down Joe Schmidt’s men.
That brutal assessment was met with equally harsh words online as pundits and fans alike reacted with bemusement and anger.
Among the more reactionary accusations were that the players did not care enough to put in the effort required to beat Ireland – but those claims fail to explain the emotion clearly visible in skipper Stuart McInally’s face earlier this week as he tried to explain what happened in Yokohama.
And lock Gilchrist – a team-mate of his captain at Edinburgh – spoke with similar passion as he reflected on the missed opportunity to make a major statement of intent during their Pool A opener.
He said: “We all took a beating on Sunday night.
“We’d put a lot of work in behind the scenes for the last four or five months building towards the game and there’s no surprise that in the 48 hours afterwards you are going to be in a dark place because everybody is rightly annoyed and a bit p***** off with how we played.
“But nobody is more annoyed and pissed off than the guys who have been grafting for the last four months.
“We understand why everybody else is annoyed, but we’re more annoyed than anyone.
“People are questioning whether we care and whether we are aggressive enough, and that’s hurtful so we need to go out and really show that against Samoa on Monday.”
Townsend sat his squad down and made them sit through all the gory details of their four-try humbling by the Irish earlier this week.
And after enduring that video nasty, Gilchrist admits he can have no complaints if he is left out when the Dark Blues resume action against the Pacific Islanders at Kobe’s Misaki Stadium early next week.
“The review was as uncomfortable as it should have been,” he said. “No-one likes to go through what was at times not anywhere near where we need to be both individually and collectively. It is not nice to sit through but that’s how you move on.
“There is no doubt that when you play as badly as that that everyone’s head’s on the block and so it should be. I am not going to sit here and say anybody deserves their place in the team when they are involved in something like that.
“It will be up to Gregor who he selects for the next game and the boys who played are under no illusions that we are not in a great position.”
‘I can see everyone is very passionate about their country. But there’s a bit of a different story when that person is scoring the match-winning try in an international’
– Nick Haining on why he is declaring for @Scotlandteam despite Australian upbringinghttps://t.co/K0fbcQRYiw
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 25, 2019
If Gilchrist does feature on Monday, he will be hoping for a better result than his first meeting with the Samoans in 2013 when Scott Johnson’s side suffered a 27-17 upset during a four-team tournament in South Africa.
“I think that was my second cap,” he recalled glumly. “I remember that day. Scotland against Samoa has been a close game certainly in the last two games.
“At the last World Cup, which I wasn’t at, it was a really closely-contested match. And more recently in 2017 it was again a high-scoring game which we just won.
“They have scored over 30 points against us the last two times, so there is something we need to do better straight away.”
Fans were not happy after two Samoan players escaped red cards for dangerous tackles against Russia:
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