MATT Taylor, the Scotland defence coach, informed his players last night that some of them may already have missed their last chance to book a place in Gregor Townsend’s Rugby World Cup squad in the wake of Saturday night’s 32-3 humbling by France in Nice.

The first of four warm-up matches before the event in Japan, only two more – a return match against France at BT Murrayfield and a trip to Tbilisi to take on Georgia – remain before Townsend must confirm the 31 names he is taking on the trip.

With nine members of the 40-man group set to be disappointed, more players played their way off the plan to Japan than on it on Saturday, a match which saw the rampant French rack up five tries to nil. While there were few triumphs on the night, it remains to be seen likes of Josh Strauss and Jamie Bhatti get another chance to prove their worth.

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“There will be guys, some of them [who do get another chance],” said the Aussie. “And there might be guys who won’t get another opportunity. Unfortunately, there might be some guys who don’t get that opportunity. Where the decision is made that ‘you’ve had your go, and that’s it’.”

While Scotland have conceded 18 points or more in every match they have played during the calendar year in 2019, Taylor and Townsend told the squad in no uncertain terms in a series of one-on-one meetings that they expect better.

“I’ll focus on the area which I’m involved in – defence – and that’s the area where we need to front up," he said. "All the best teams in the world are the best team defensively, and we didn’t show that on the weekend, and 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. I have 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.”