Six Nations: Gutted Sione Tuipulotu says Scotland have to learn quickly ahead of Ireland World Cup rematch

It was Sione Tuipulotu’s first experience of playing Ireland but the Scotland centre won’t have long to wait before he faces them again.

He ended up on the losing side at Murrayfield on Sunday and knows the Scots will need to be a lot more clinical when they meet at the Rugby World Cup in Paris on October 7. The match is likely to determine who qualifies for the quarter-finals and Ireland are showing no signs of loosening their stranglehold on this fixture. Their 22-7 win in Edinburgh was their eighth in a row over the Scots who played well in the first half but were distinctly second best after the break.

“We came up against a good side but going in at half-time I really felt the belief,” said Tuipulotu who created Scotland’s try for centre partner Huw Jones. “But they’re so clinical. They lost both their hookers and [flanker] Josh van der Flier started throwing in darts, and I think that shows their clinical edge. We’ve got to learn quickly. We’ve got Ireland in our pool at the World Cup, everyone knows that.

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“That was my first time playing Ireland in my career and that’s definitely the best team I’ve played. We had the All Blacks here in the autumn and we played France last week. I think Ireland’s biggest strength is their clinical edge and we’ve got to learn quickly to get that if we want to beat them at the World Cup.”

Sione Tuipulotu tries to break through the Irish defence.Sione Tuipulotu tries to break through the Irish defence.
Sione Tuipulotu tries to break through the Irish defence.

Scotland trailed 8-7 at the break and were left to rue missed opportunities in a fiercely contested but even first half. “We had a couple of attacking set-piece sequences between 30-40 minutes, which we probably should have scored from,” added Tuipulotu. “If we’d put more scoreboard pressure on them and started the second half well, then they’d have been up against it. They just kicked on in the second half better than we did. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am about that.

“This is probably my first time experiencing the whole thing in terms of the build-up to a big game, I’m chilling in the team room and there’s things coming out about what’s being said in the Irish press. Things like us having a soft underbelly. I really don’t think we do. It’s just they were a bit more clinical in the second half. I’m really cut up about it. We’ve scored a lot of tries in the other games, whereas we only scored one today. There were tries out there to be scored. I am pretty emotional about it because I know how much goes into it. When you go into a big game like that and don’t get the result, it’s a bit heartbreaking to be honest.”

Tuipulotu was particularly disappointed that they weren’t able to deliver a victory for Stuart Hogg, who was winning his 100th Scotland cap. “A 100 caps is such an achievement. To play at his level 100 times and be that consistent from the age of 19 at his debut until now, credit where it’s due, there are not many people like that in Test rugby. And he’s got a big part to play in the World Cup. I’m stoked for him to get his 100 but disappointed we couldn’t get the result for him because that’s what all the boys wanted.”