By Andy Newport
Gregor Townsend’s team barely raised a hand to defend themselves as their World Cup preparations began with a feeble display at the Allianz Riviera. Les Bleus ran in five tries in a 32-3 drubbing that has left the Scotland faithful fearing for their chances in Japan.
The Scots have now conceded 10 tries in their last two games and, with less than a month to go before they jet out to the Far East, there is precious little time to fix the glaring faults in their defence.
Taylor is in charge of keeping the backline tight and has held his hand up and confessed he failed to sufficiently rouse the team before taking on Jacques Brunel’s powerhouse unit.
He has vowed there will be no lack of motivation as they prepare to welcome the French to Murrayfield for Saturday’s return clash.
Asked what went wrong on the Cote d’Azur, the Australian-born former Scotland flanker said:
“These warm-up games we’ve focused a lot on ourselves rather than the opposition. On reflection, maybe we should have poked and prodded and fired up the boys more than we did.
“System wise we still need to make sure that under stress and duress that guys are sticking to systems. We did that in part but in others we didn’t. The biggest thing was that we didn’t win collisions.
“We were away from home and we just left it up to the players to get themselves in the right frame of mind, and maybe with it being a warm-up game in a nice place like Nice, we just assumed that level of intensity was going to be there, and it wasn’t.
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“I’ll focus on the area which I’m involved in — defence — and that’s the area where we need to front up. All the best teams in the world are the best team defensively, and we didn’t show that on the weekend.
“I’m the most gutted out of anyone in the team, or probably in the country, because that’s my job to make sure we do that.
“So, I made it pretty clear today that we fell below the standards, including myself, and I’ll take that on the chin. I need to make sure the boys are up for it this weekend.