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Gregor Townsend was left to bemoan two “soft” tries after seeing his Scotland side fail to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup following their 28-21 defeat by hosts Japan.
The Brave Blossoms stormed to a thrilling, pulsating victory in Yokohama, despite falling behind after an early Finn Russell try, that leaves them top of Pool A with four wins from four – two of which came against the Dark Blues and Joe Schmidt’s Ireland. Japan will now face South Africa in the last eight, the first time the nation has reached this stage of the competition.
As for Scotland, this is just the second time in their history that they’ve failed to progress beyond the group stages, with Townsend under the spotlight and facing questions over his future as head coach of the national side.
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Speaking afterwards, the former Scotland international admitted the defeat by Japan was a “major blow” for him and his men as he sought to offer some explanations.
“Over the piece we were disappointed we weren’t able to win by more than eight points,” he said. “We started really well in defence and attack then we didn’t see much of the ball for the rest of the first half, partly due to errors we made, but also due to what Japan were doing when we had the ball.
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