Scotland: Rugby World Cup exit 'will eat away' at Stuart Hogg 'for a long time'

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'It will eat away at me for a long, long time'

Scotland's early Rugby World Cup exit in Japan will "eat away" at full-back Stuart Hogg "for a long, long time".

Gregor Townsend's side failed to progress from Pool A after losing a frenetic clash with the hosts 28-21.

Scotland had already been beaten by Ireland in their opening pool match and fell short of a quarter-final berth for only the second time in history.

"We can't keep saying we'll be better for this experience because we've said that before," said Hogg.

"The hard truth is, if we don't get better, it's going to be the same situation.

"I don't think it's actually kicked in what's happened. When it does, it will eat away at me for a long, long time. It's going to hurt. But this is the place we've put ourselves in."

Scotland began their campaign with a 27-3 hammering by Ireland, who went on to finish second in the pool and book a last-eight date with New Zealand.

Although they bounced back to thrash struggling Samoa and Russia to nil, Townsend's men needed to take four more points than Japan from Sunday's decisive finale in Yokohama.

Scotland trailed 28-7 early in the second half, and despite scoring two tries, could not subdue the irrepressible host nation, who will now face South Africa.

"It's given me the kick up the backside that I probably needed to get better, to learn, and I can guarantee every single player in that Scotland team is the same," Hogg, 27, added.

"We were beaten by the better side. We truly believed we were coming here to achieve something special and we've come up short and we're going home a lot earlier than we had planned.

"If we were at our best, we wouldn't be going home. It's as simple as that. We can't afford to make error on error, concede 28 points and expect to win Test matches."

Gregor Townsend's record against Tier One opposition and Japan
Gregor Townsend's record against Tier One opposition, including Sunday's Japan defeat

'There's a lot more in this team'

Having overseen a disappointing Six Nations campaign in which Scotland won a single game and earned a madcap 38-38 draw at Twickenham, Townsend became the second coach to fail to guide the national team to a World Cup quarter-finals.

Since taking charge in the summer of 2017, the former British and Irish Lion has led Scotland to home and away wins over Australia, a Calcutta Cup triumph at Murrayfield amid a three-win Six Nations in 2018, and within a score of a maiden victory over New Zealand.

But there have been heavy losses to Ireland, Wales and France, as well as underwhelming summer tour defeats by Fiji and the USA.

When asked whether he had taken Scotland as far as he can, Townsend replied: "There's a lot more in this team. Experiences are what make you as a group and how you react to those experiences.

"That was a unique situation we were in tonight, we knew it was always going to be a challenge given the way Japan were playing, given our [four-day] turnaround.

"But we had the team and ability and the start of that game to go on and win it by the necessary amount of points. That we didn't is hugely disappointing and we'll have to learn from that.

"You don't get another shot in a World Cup for four years but we've got to improve as we hit our next tournament which will be the Six Nations in a few months' time."

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