YOKOHAMA, Japan, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Scotland coach Gregor Townsend could not hide his disappointment at his side failing to make the knockout phases at the Rugby World Cup for the second time when they were beaten 28-21 by Japan on Sunday.
The tournament hosts advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time with the bonus-point victory and consigned the Six Nations side to their second pool exit in nine tournaments.
Scotland also failed to qualify for the quarter-finals at the 2011 tournament in New Zealand when they were beaten by Argentina and England to finish third in their pool.
“We came here with high aspirations and getting out of the pool was stage one of that,” a downcast Townsend told reporters at Yokohama Stadium.
“We have worked really hard over the last four months to go further than we did tonight and it is obviously very disappointing not to make it out of the pool.”
Scotland started the game strongly with some punishing defence and scored the first try through flyhalf Finn Russell but Japan then seized control of the match as they controlled the ball and played accurately at a frenetic pace.
Japan were leading 28-7 after Kenki Fukuoka’s second try just after halftime but the Scots fought back. They got within seven points of the tournament hosts but could not provide the killer blow in the final quarter.
“We had the team and the ability at the start of that game to go on and win it by the necessary amount of points; that we didn’t is hugely disappointing,” Townsend said.
“We started very well but we had a couple of errors that gave Japan the ball and they made the most of that and the sign of a good team is their ability to do that, and they did.
“But we need to be more accurate in that final 20 minutes... we had the opportunity to win the game tonight and we did not take them.”
Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw said his side had let Japan back into the game after they had made their strong start.
“We started really well. We got out to a 7-0 lead (and then) although we didn’t switch off we gave away the soft points we have talked about and let Japan into the game,” Laidlaw said.
“We gave away two really soft tries and in a test match where we need to win by eight points, giving away 28 is way too many.” (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Clare Fallon)