Sione Tuipulotu put in what was possibly his best Scotland performance to date yesterday, providing the scoring pass for Huw Jones’s try and threatening the Irish defence with almost every carry. That was little or no consolation to the Glasgow centre, however, as his team went down to defeat by an Ireland side he believed was the best he has come up against in his 15 appearances.

“It doesn’t really matter, does it?,” he said when congratulated on his display. “I’d say I was happy with my performance other than the kick I put into row Z, but we were chasing the game a little bit. 

“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 clinical edge if we want to beat them at the World Cup.”

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What made the 22-7 loss all the more disappointing for the 26-year-old was the fact that he knew Scotland were capable of playing far better - and that the whole squad had hoped for a far better way to celebrate full-back Stuart Hogg’s 100th cap.

“I’m just pretty disappointed - the occasion, the Championship on the line, Hoggy’s 100th,” he continued. “We really wanted to get the result for Hoggy and for Scotland and I think that’s what makes it all the more disappointing.

“We came up against a good side today, but going in at half-time I really felt the belief. I thought we should have gone in ahead, to be honest. 

“We had a couple of attacking set-piece sequences between 30 and 40 minutes, which we probably should have scored from. If we’d put more scoreboard pressure on them and started the second half well, then they’d have been up against it.


“We had a couple of chances in their 22. I know George Turner went out on the touchline on the left-hand side and it wasn’t his fault, but in those moments we’ve got to score. We needed to put them under scoreboard pressure. If they go in at half-time down with us at home then it adds to the heat of the battle.

“But they’re so clinical. They lost both their hookers and 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.“I think Gregor [Townsend] touched on the fact that we weren’t good enough in the second half, but we’ve got to bounce back quickly, because we’ve got to get what we deserve next week against Italy and try to finish this tournament on a high.”

For all that Tuipulotu looks like a battle-hardened competitor, he is still relatively inexperienced at Test level, and admitted he had not been accustomed to dealing with the pressure of a big occasion in which so much was at stake.

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“This is probably my first time experiencing the whole thing in terms of the build-up to a big game,” he added. “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 and things like that. 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. That’s the clinical edge we needed. We needed to put them under pressure on the scoreboard.

“I am pretty emotional about it, because I know how much goes into it. We’ll watch the tapes and we know there will be a lot of things written or spoken about this team.

“But I believe in the boys and the work that goes into this team. When you go into a big game like that and don’t get the result, it’s a bit heartbreaking, to be honest.”