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Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Townsend predicts upset
Gregor Townsend has won 77 caps for Scotland
Gregor Townsend believes some shock results are possible at the World Cup and thinks Scotland can win the tournament.

The 30-year-old fly-half insists his country should not be written off despite their disappointing form leading into the competition.

Scotland beat Wales and Italy in the Six Nations but were hammered by the Irish, French and English, lost two games to under-strength South Africa and, after another win over the Italians, were beaten by Wales and Ireland in the final warm-up games.

But Townsend recalls how the French pulled off a stunning reversal of fortunes to reach the 1999 World Cup final.

"I remember how France came bottom in the Five Nations and then were terrible in the first four games of the World Cup and were written off, but they clicked and went through to the final," he said.

I definitely think we have got a chance to win this tournament
Gregor Townsend
"Who's to say one of the outsiders can't create an upset or two? There are certainly not just three or four teams in contention.

"I view ourselves, Ireland and maybe Argentina as teams that can upset the big teams on the day and if you get a run going early on anything can happen, there are only maybe four big games - get through those and you've won the tournament."

Scotland have never failed to reach the quarter-finals of a World Cup and failure to progress from a group that includes Japan, the United States, Fiji and France would be a major disappointment.

"We don't want to be known as failures, we've set our expectations of at least getting through to the quarter-finals," he said.

"I definitely think we have got a chance to win this tournament, but of course everything has got to be just spot on."

Townsend, who will face competition from Gordon Ross for the no.10 jersey Down Under, also fancies England for the Webb Ellis Trophy.

"England are great to watch," said Townsend. "They are playing expansive 15-man rugby and if it can't be us then I'd like the English to bring back the cup.

"I admire what they have achieved and it would be great for all the teams in the northern hemisphere."





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