The Scotland captain was bullish about his side's chances of beating Ireland to make the quarter-finals
Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie said his side have to fire every bullet in their gun as they bid to end Ireland’s 16-match unbeaten run and make the World Cup quarter-finals.
Gregor Townsend’s men must win by eight points to book their spot in a first knockout clash since 2015 with flanker Ritchie insisting his side “have nothing to lose” and “won’t die wondering” as they go in search of a first win against Ireland since the 2017 Six Nations.
Read more: Scotland Rugby World Cup squad
Andy Farrell‘s world No 1 side are clear favourites to progress having proven their World Cup credentials by beating South Africa, who overturned Scotland on the opening weekend, and can guarantee top spot in Pool B and a quarter-final against New Zealand just by securing two bonus points.
Ritchie said: “I don’t see it as pressure being off, but I do see it as us not having anything to lose in this game. If we lose the game, we’re going home.
“We’ve been written off against the top two teams in the world but, for us, we’re not going to die wondering, we’ve got to fire every bullet in our gun and we’ve got to go out there and play our best game and it is in our hands from now.
“So, the pressure is off in that sense in that we know where we stand and we’re not relying on anyone else other than ourselves.”
Jamie Ritchie on concussion return for biggest game of his career
Edinburgh back-row Ritchie suffered a concussion against Tonga in Scotland’s second hit out and was forced to sit out the 84-0 rout of Romania but the 27-year-old was never worried that he wouldn’t make it back for the big one at the Stade de France on Saturday night.
Related: Ireland Rugby World Cup squad
He added: “I was always comfortable I was going to be back and ready. I’ve had a couple [of concussions] now so I’m on the 12-day turnarounds, but I knew that would be enough time.
“I was feeling fine after the game so it was probably one of those ones where we were erring on the side of caution in me being taken off. It was probably the right decision but after the game I felt absolutely fine and passed all my stuff and was ready to go.”
Ritchie, who took over the captaincy from the recently retired Stuart Hogg this time last year, admitted facing Ireland in Paris is the biggest match he has ever played in. “I’d probably say it’s the biggest game of my career,” he said.
“But that’s exciting. This is why we play the game, this is why we want to come to World Cups, for games like this where you have the opportunity to do something special.”