Sione Tuipulotu says Scotland must perform better in big matches if they are to end a 25-year wait for a major trophy, and admits time is running out for the current crop of players.  

Tuipulotu was one of Scotland’s outstanding performers in victories over Wales and England, before a knee injury picked up in the latter fixture forced the Glasgow centre to sit out defeats in Italy and Ireland.  

The 27-year-old admitted a fourth-place finish after the pool stage elimination at the Rugby World Cup is not good enough, but says it is the players – not coach Gregor Townsend – who are to blame.  

He said: “It’s disappointing because we can say this about every year I’ve been involved in the Six Nations ‘if we did this’ we could’ve done something.  

“We’ve got no-one else to blame but ourselves. The boys are all under the impression the time is ticking on this generation.  

“I know Demmo [Jack Dempsey] spoke about it after the Ireland game. We’ve probably got one or two more years with this current crop of players to win something.  

“We’ve got to come to terms with that and try to get it over the line.” 

Former Australia age-grade cap Tuipulotu, who has won 25 caps since his Scotland debut in 2021, knows Scotland cannot continue to have so many ‘nearly’ moments in major tournaments 

He added: “In big games, we need to play better individually. We can all look back at these big games and say ‘what could I have done better’.  

Scotland Rugby News: A dejected Sione Tuipulotu after Scotland's World Cup defeat to IrelandA dejected Sione Tuipulotu after Scotland's World Cup defeat to Ireland (Image: PA)

“When players don’t perform in big games everyone wants to blame the coach, but I think the players need to take responsibility. We can’t have some guys up at an eight out of 10 and some guys at a four out of 10 – you're not going to win a big game like that. 

“If we get 23 guys up at a seven or eight out of 10, we’re going to win these big games. Until then, we’re going to struggle. It comes down to individual performances.”  

That is not just a problem confined to the national team. Glasgow bowed out of the Investec Champions Cup with defeat to Harlequins last weekend, and Tuipulotu admits players must learn from their mistakes at club level too.  

He said: “I know I want to play in the big games because I want to play well in those games.  

“I’m always looking at the schedule for the big games, because those are the ones that really matter for the club.  

“If everyone wants to put their hand up in the big games, we’ll get better results across the board." 

That match saw the hard-running centre end six weeks on the sidelines with the knee injury he picked up on international duty.

"It was great to be back," he said. 

"Initially I was looking at being back for the South Africa tour [next month] but the physio here [Hene Branders] did a great job and it started to heal really quick. 

"I knew as soon as I'd done it that it was something serious, but I played until half-time and my mistake was sitting down as soon as we went into the changing rooms.

"I came out for the second half and just couldn't run at all." 

Turning his attention to the finale of the URC campaign, Tuipulotu knows Glasgow are in a good position as the league resumes with the Sharks’ visit to Scotstoun on Friday night. 

He said that was down to the effort of the whole squad.  

“The boys have worked tirelessly throughout the whole year,” Tuipulotu said.  

“It’s been a lot of players contributing to put us in a position to perform well in the URC. 

“These last games are a big part. A home quarter-final and semi-final would be massive for us, and maybe even a home final. We want to finish well.” 

Tuipulotu will hope that by the time Adam Hastings returns to the club in the summer, there is more silverware in the Scotstoun trophy cabinet. But he believes the fly-half's return after three years at Gloucester will make the Warriors a better side.  

READ MORE: Adam Hastings signs up for Glasgow Warriors return

“I haven’t played much with Hasto, but I have trained a lot with him at Scotland,” Tuipulotu said.  

“I actually played against him at under-20s and I ran over him a few times. I always remind him of that. I love Hasto and it’ll be great to have him around. He has all the skill set of a world class 10.” 

Tuipulotu could line up either side of Hastings and his good mate Huw Jones, who turned down a move to France in favour of signing a new deal to stay at Scotstoun.  

Scotland Rugby News: Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones, or Huwipulotu as they've become known, in action for ScotlandSione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones, or Huwipulotu as they've become known, in action for Scotland (Image: SNS)

The Australian-born centre believes Jones committing his future to the club is a sign of their ambition.  

He said: “For him to stay here, it just shows how much this group wants to win something.  

“Everyone knows how much I love playing with Shuggie and how well we gel together.” 

Off the field, Tuipulotu and partner Lara are expecting their first child in June, as he follows Jones and Glasgow captain Kyle Steyn into fatherhood.  

“I’ve watched the boys who have had kids and how things have changed,” he said.  

“The boys have been coming in quite tired but I’m not that good a sleeper anyway so I keep saying I’m not too sure how much my life is going to change, but we’re really excited.” 

The impending new arrival – and the fact Scotland are touring the Americas this summer – may mean Tuipulotu is given the summer off by Gregor Townsend.  

It has been a long season for the centre and the other members of Scotland’s World Cup squad who were in training camps for that competition last June.  

While he admits he hasn’t yet discussed the summer trip with the Scotland head coach, he sees pros and cons of sitting this one out.  

He added: “It would be nice to get a full off-season here and launch into a big year next year, but those summer tours are so fun.  

“I’ve never been to the USA or Canada, so the boys are all looking to get on the tour. We’ll see what happens.  

“If Gregor asks me to go, I’ll be there.” 

Tuipulotu was speaking ahead of Glasgow Warriors fourth Plaster It Purple fixture when they take on the Sharks at Scotstoun on Friday.  

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