Rugby World Cup: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend under pressure

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw leads his team off the field after losing to Japan
Scotland were eliminated from the Rugby World Cup after Sunday's frenetic loss to Japan

Head coach Gregor Townsend "needs results" but will survive Scotland's Rugby World Cup exit, says former captain Andy Nicol.

The Scots were well beaten by Ireland and hosts Japan in Pool A, failing to reach the quarter-finals for only the second time in history.

After a poor, injury-hit Six Nations, Townsend has come under fire from fans.

"The only currency that wins when you're analysing coaches is wins," Nicol told BBC Radio Scotland.

"That means Gregor is under pressure. But I think there's enough there to see him through.

"This now means the Six Nations becomes very important. Gregor needs results."

'We have nice guys up front'

Scotland were hammered 27-3 by Ireland in their opening pool match and trailed Japan 28-7 early in the second half of Sunday's crucial encounter, before fighting back to lose 28-21.

Shorn of several key players, Townsend oversaw a disappointing Six Nations campaign that delivered a solitary win over Italy and a remarkable 38-38 draw with England at Twickenham.

Scotland last won the Calcutta Cup south of the border 36 years ago. They have not beaten France away since 1999, Wales since 2002 and Ireland since 2010.

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

Townsend, in charge since June 2017, has spoken of his desire to play "the fastest rugby in the world", but former Scotland prop Peter Wright says they are too soft.

"It's about wins. I'd rather play badly and win, than put the effort into technique and lose," Wright said.

"The only way we're going to win away from home is to get that rugged 'dog' into the forwards and lose our nice guy attitudes a little.

"We've got the wrong forwards coach, Danny Wilson, in place. We want them to be aggressive, we want them to dominate teams. We need an edge to go in to the games as the bullies, in a sporting sense. We look like we just have nice guys up front right now.

"Gregor has got to be brutal and say, 'Players x, y and z, thanks very much, you've been brilliant for your country but we now need to build towards France 2023 so you're not part of that'.

"I think Gregor will stay on. He'll get the Six Nations, but he will come under real pressure if Scotland have a bad Six Nations."

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