FOR a coach who had just watched his team lose their unbeaten record in this year’s Six Nations, Gregor Townsend was pretty upbeat when he spoke straight after Scotland’s 32-21 defeat to France in Paris.
“I was very pleased with the performance, it was our best of the Championship so far,” he claimed. “I’m disappointed with the result but proud of how the players played, and proud of how they controlled the situation, the emotions and how they adapted to being a man down and how much belief they had in each other.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t take the two or three opportunities which would have led to us winning the game. But I feel we have improved from our previous games, there will be so much which will come out of this game for us.
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“We didn’t defend well enough around the ruck area for their first try,” he added. “Then we took a little while to get back into it when we went a man down, and then there was an interception.
“During that period, especially when we got ourselves back into it, we had a lot of the game. We had the ball over the line twice, it was held up once and bounced over the line, and there was another where France were penalised for offside and we didn’t score in the corner.
“It would have been good to get in at half time and been closer on the scoreboard but the conversation at half time was that we were here to win and this is how we are going to do it.
“I felt the momentum was all with us in the second half and it’s just a pity that we didn’t build on the fact that we got to four points behind and didn’t really seal the deal.
The world keeps turning and Townsend was already looking ahead to taking on Ireland – the top ranked team in the world at the moment – at Murrayfield in a fortnight’s time. A win for Scotland, who remain second in the Six Nations table, will secure a first Triple Crown since 1990 and keep alive their chances of a first championship win since 1999.
“There will be things we have to do better but there will be belief in how we played against one of the best teams in the world at their home stadium,” he said. “We will need that belief and we will need that improvement for our next game.
“We will be hugely motivated to play for a trophy back home against Ireland.
“The championship is what everyone is gunning towards, you are going to have to win four or five games to win the championship, but if you are in the mix for a Triple Crown then that’s something different. We’ve not been in that mix for a while.
“We have not won one since 1990 so it will be a motivator, but the big motivator is to still be in this championship come the final weekend.
“Ireland are the best team in the world, and we have not played them at home for a while in front of a crowd so it will be good to have that.
“A lot of the game last time against them we played well but our discipline let us down. If you give away penalties against them then they are very efficient about what they do around the opposition 22.
“So, our discipline will need to be very good, and I thought it was very good today. We won a lot of penalties against France and I thought we could get a yellow card as well as it was penalty after penalty. Maybe just one more would have changed things a lot if we were playing against 13 men.
Townsend also expressed sympathy for Grant Gilchrist after the second-row was red-carded for a high tackle on Anthony Jelonch after just six minutes – but explained that he had no complaints about the decision.
“If you tackle in the head area then you are looking straight away at a red,” he reasoned. “Were there any mitigating circumstances? Was there a dip or chest first … but no.
“It wasn’t his intention, he was second man in the tackle and it’s very rare for us to have high tackles or any yellow or red cards, so Grant will have to learn from that as second man in there.
“If he’s upright then he can’t go in with his shoulder, he’s just got to tackle lower.”
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I’m no Toony fan, but I tend to agree with him here. There is something a bit different about how the team are going about their business. It changed for me after the England game.
That missed line out still hurts as we could have punished them badly there. But woulda/shoulda/coulda. Ireland will be having a serious conversation about how they might stop us from playing our game.
If we can isolate Sexton, As Iain Morrison stated, push through the weaker wide channel where Aki will sit and maybe get Finn playing like he did against the French with a bit of a better outcome we will be there or there about’s in the last 10 mins.
Team Scotland played magnificently, and should not be disheartened by this loss. Keep it up Gregor Townsend and the lads all the way back to Murrayfield to seriously challenge Ireland. Scotland’s red card was questionable whilst France’s was due to a blatant attempt to create injury, in my opinion. The sacrifices being made by the Team to play entertaining, intelligent, flowing rugby at world class are clearly evident.
In the past I’ve been very critical of Townsend for his upbeat assessments following a Scottish defeat, which have been characterised by the word ‘disappointing’ to an inane degree. But this time I agree totally with his assessment, for this is a very different Scotland team and there is so much to look forward to. I’m proud of the boys, for they showed tremendous character and resilience to come back into the match after such a disastrous start and dominated for large chunks of it. While it might not be everyone’s view, I would go as far as to say that we were the better side overall – and that is also the opinion of many French supporters if you follow other strings. If that final thrown-in hadn’t been so badly botched, we could have been looking at the most dramatic of wins given the way the game was going. Certainly the Parisian crowd was growing ever quieter up to that that point – you know, like you don’t hear ‘Sweet chariot’ when England are losing. They were definitely spooked. This Six Nations is wide open and we are still very much in the hunt for our first such title. if we could get Darcy fit and bring in Ashman as back-up we’d be cooking on gas.
In the past I’ve been very critical of Townsend for his upbeat assessments following a Scottish defeat, which have been characterised by the word ‘disappointing’ to an inane degree. But this time I agree totally with his assessment, for this is a very different Scotland team and there is so much to look forward to. I’m proud of the boys, for they showed tremendous character and resilience to come back into the match after such a disastrous start and dominated for large chunks of it. While it might not be everyone’s view, I would go as far as to say that we were the better side overall – and that is the view of not just the Scots, but of many French supporters too if you follow other strings. And if that final thrown-in hadn’t been so badly botched we could have been looking at the most dramatic of wins given the way the game was going. Certainly the Parisian crowd was growing ever quieter up to hat that point – you know, like you don’t hear ‘Sweet chariot’ when England are losing. They were definitely spooked. This Six Nations is wide open and we are still very much in the hunt for our first such title. if we could get Darcy fit and bring in Ashman as back-up we’d be cooking on gas.
After watching the dirge of Wales v England this was a magnificent game. To all those anti Townsend people go and take a real good look at this game and take into account that France are the second best team in the World.
Losing 19 points and a red card was not a great start but how our team came back showed their complete commitment. Scotland are a class act and taking into account limited playing resources we can be really proud of them. Look at the state of professional rugby in Wales and England and don’t even think about a third Scottish professional side.
What’s with the ‘to all those anti-Towmsend people’ nonsense? No one is innately anti-Townsend, but many of us were rightly sick to the back teeth of his failure to deliver anything of note for six long years. And we were perfectly entitled to criticise the lack of tactics, poor selections, player rifts and bad results that characterised his tenure. Especially given the talented squad he had available to him. Or were you asleep through all of that? I’m as delighted as you are – and every one of us is – that we are playing a much better brand of rugby and I will support the coach for as long as that remains the case and he performs as he should given the hand dealt to him. Frankly I’d endorse Spongebob Squarepants himself if he could do the job, for I follow teams not coaches. So less of the divisive comments fella – we are all Scotsmen here and desperate to see our boys do well. It is long overdue and all the more welcome for that.
Good points well made.
Scotland were magnificent yesterday. To recover from a start like that and go toe to toe with one of the favourites for the world cup in their own back yard is such a statement. France deserved the win but we had them wobbling and it would have been an interesting couple of minutes if Brown had hit his man. Feel so sorry for Gilchrist, you could see how upset he was. He’s not dirty, he just got it wrong. Huw Jones was magnificent and Russell must be the top 10 in the world right now. Onto the best side in the world next and the chance of a trophy that we’ve not won since 1990.
Absolutely fed up with GT aftermatch comments best squad for maybe 4 years nothing happened
It’s telling that the best to performances of the season have been losses – against NZ in the AIs and today against France. We are banging against that glass ceiling but still struggling for the decisive break through.
Undoubtedly, Scotland are playing our best rugby in the 6N era. A win against Ireland seems impossible to hope for but could be a changing point.
Disagree..I think beating Ireland is a more feasible challenge that today’s game was. Everyone looks beatable in this 6n!
We had a crack…had our chances…and could have won. I’m disappointed We lost happy with the performance.