Scotland players moving on after World Cup 'heartache'

By Phil Goodlad & Amy MacBeathBBC Sport Scotland
Matt Scott in action against Samoa
Matt Scott in action against Samoa at the Rugby World Cup

Matt Scott says he could do nothing for a week but think 'what if' following Scotland's 35-34 defeat to Australia in the World Cup quarter-final.

The centre lines up for Edinburgh tomorrow against Munster in the Pro12.

And despite missing the quarter-final through injury Scott says he is desperate to play this weekend and get the disappointment out of his system.

"It was a tough week, I think the whole nation felt the heartbreak of that game," Scott said.

"Just running through the 'what ifs' - what if we'd done this, what if that happened - that made it especially tough just to know how small a margin it was. That's rugby."

Scotland attracted praise for their World Cup campaign, which was ended by Bernard Foley's controversial last minute penalty for Australia in their last-eight encounter at Twickenham.

Scott says Scotland's performances in the tournament should ensure they are taken more seriously on the international stage.

"We were a bit unlucky with the (penalty) decision at the end which could have gone our way," he said.

Mark Bennett applauds Scotland fans moments after their 35-34 defeat against Australia in the World Cup quarter final.
A disappointed Mark Bennett applauds Scotland fans moments after their 35-34 defeat against Australia in the World Cup quarter final

"It was in our hands and that's the main thing so we were disappointed not to close it out but extremely proud of the effort we put in.

"I think we gained a lot of respect and people may be taking us a bit seriously now.

"We could have very easily been a semi-final team and a semi-final against Argentina is one that we could have one. That's a very frustrating way to look at it."

Scott's fellow Scotland centre Mark Bennett shares his pain at the manner of the World Cup exit, but the Glasgow Warrior hopes his return to Pro12 action this weekend will shake off the demons of that late heartache against the Wallabies.

'An unbelievable experience'

Gregor Townsend and Mark Bennett

His side take on Cardiff Blues before travelling to France the following week for their opening European Rugby Champions Cup fixture with Racing 92 in Paris.

The centre is one of six internationals returning to the Glasgow side who travel to Wales on Saturday.

Finn Russell and Jonny Gray - both of whom committed to new contracts with the club this week - will appear alongside Stuart Hogg, Josh Strauss and Ryan Grant, who have all been away on international duty.

But the 22-year-old admits there may still be lingering thoughts of "what if" for him too, and asked if he has managed to move on, he was not fully committed to his own answer.

"Yes. I'll say yes, but there's still obviously thoughts now and again in the head but I'm just really focused on getting out there this weekend and getting back into it," said Bennett, whose late try looked to have put the Scots on course for the World Cup semi-final.

"It was an unbelievable experience and I can't wait to get involved again, it's been a long couple of weeks since and I'm raring to go."

Bennett is optimistic that getting back into regular games will help heal the World Cup wounds, and added: "I'd like to think that after the game this weekend it will be out of the mind and it's gone."