Rugby World Cup 2019: Scotland's Sean Maitland apologises to fans after dismal display

Scotland winger Sean Maitland has apologised to Scottish fans, after his team's no-show in their Rugby World Cup opener against Ireland in Yokohama on Sunday. 

Ireland were clinical, as they ran away 27-3 winners, leaving Scotland likely to face the All Blacks, should they qualify for the quarter-finals. 

Losing to the best-ranked nation wasn't the end of the world, but the way they lost was disappointing, especially after coach Gregor Townsend declared this was "best prepared Scotland side to ever go to a World Cup". 

Ireland scored three of their four tries inside the first 25 minutes and Scotland had no answer, as they were outplayed in all aspects of the game. 

"When you go behind like that, early doors, there could have been a bit of a shock to the system," Maitland said. "Maybe it was one of those things for us.

"We tried to come back in the second half, but a lot of our mistakes were down to execution.

"I apologise to the fans. It wasn't good enough and that's me being honest." 

Townsend said the entire squad would look for answers after their woeful display. 

"That's what we're asking each other," Townsend said, when asked about the team's lack of energy. 

"We didn't show our best version of ourselves. I've seen that in training, and in the last two or three games, but when you don't do that against the best teams in the world, they will punish you."

Townsend admitted his squad were now in a must-win situation for the remainder of the tournament. 

They face Samoa, Russia and Japan, and three wins should see them through to the knockout stages of the World Cup. 

"We need to win our next three matches, regardless of the result today," said Townsend. "We have to bounce back, and play a lot better against Samoa, Russia and Japan, who started the tournament well."

"When you don't play your best in your first game of a World Cup, then you will obviously be disappointed. We didn't show the best version of ourselves tonight.

"We must play much better in our next three games, if we are going to get out of our pool and progress into the quarter-finals, and I believe we will be."

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 10:15pm Monday for live updates of the Rugby World Cup match between Wales and Georgia

Newshub. 

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz