After Scotland crashed out of the Rugby World Cup in the pool stages for only the second time on Sunday, there has been a fierce reaction from fans.
Gregor Townsend’s side fell to Japan 28-21 in Yokohama, which sees the hosts and Ireland progress to the quarter-finals from Pool A.
While this could sometimes have disastrous consequences for a head coach, fans on social media are not necessarily calling for Townsend to lose his job in the wake of this result. There are certainly some demanding that, but more fans seem to be regretting the events that have transpired over the past four years, namely the departure of Vern Cotter.
The former head coach Cotter took over at Murrayfield in 2014 and took Scotland within one controversial call of a RWC semi-final in 2015. However, he left his post midway through 2017 to allow Townsend to take over and have time to build a squad ahead of 2019. It is this decision that fans are rueing, particularly the handling of the transition.
But with Cotter’s contract with Montpellier ending at the end of the season, there have been calls for the Kiwi to return to his post.
Scotland were not world-beaters under Cotter, as they only managed two fourth place finishes and a Wooden Spoon in the three Six Nations that he was part of, but many obviously feel that he was building something for 2019.
It may well be nostalgia from fans after a difficult loss, but the opinion was, and remains that the former Top 14 winning coach left too soon.
It was a valiant effort by Scotland on Sunday, in a game that was played at a frenetic pace, but they ultimately came up against an inspired Japan side. While it was this match that eliminated them from the RWC, it was the opening game against Ireland that did the damage.
The 27-3 loss to Joe Schmidt’s men set the tone for the tournament, and Scotland were always on the back foot from there. They failed to get a losing bonus point against the Irish, or deprive them from scoring four tries, and this one bad performance was the catalyst for their early exit.
This has been the reaction:
Brilliant match, well deserved Japan. Scotland just not good enough. Why did you ever let Vern Cotter leave? #JPNvSCO
— Neil Dodsworth (@NeilDodsworth99) October 13, 2019
There are inevitably calls for Townsend to lose his job after this result, but many fans seem aware that he has only been in the job for two years. With emerging stars in the squad such as George Horne, Adam Hastings and Jamie Ritchie, and many more, Townsend should be given a chance to shape his side over the next RWC cycle.
However, that does not mean that fans are not confused at the decision making behind the scenes over the past four years.
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