Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend frustrated at failing to follow up Calcutta Cup victory with further successes, he says
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend says he and his players might be down following their defeat by Ireland in rugby’s Six Nations but they still have much to be proud of.
The Scots’ campaign kicked off in the best possible fashion, with their first Calcutta Cup victory against England in London for 38 years on Saturday, February 6, but it has fizzled out since after back-to-back home defeats against Wales on Saturday, February 13, and Ireland today, and that’s a source of frustration for Townsend.
“That's the frustrating thing, that we've not been able to build on that excellent performance against England and back that up with one, if not two, victories," said the Galashiels-born 47-year-old.
“Twickenham set the bar and for 32, 33 minutes against Wales the following week we played as well as at Twickenham - in some aspects, we played better - but since then we've not been consistent over the 80-minute period, against Wales and today.
“Every game is different. You've got a different opposition, a referee who has a different interpretation, so you've got to adapt.
“As much as I am so down about the loss today, and I know our players and our supporters are too, there is still a lot to be proud of this team.
“It's two games in a row now that they have come back and created an opportunity to at least draw the game with a few minutes remaining, and this team has had to be adaptable."
Townsend's woes were compounded by losing Finn Russell and Scott Cummings to injuries expected to rule them out of next week's game against Italy.
“It is quite early to tell, but Finn was removed from play with a concussion, so it's unlikely he will feature in six days, time, and Scott Cummings we fear may have a fracture in his hand, so if that's the case he won't be involved next week,” sais former Gala and Border Reivers star Townsend.
“Jonny Gray had a shoulder issue, so we will wait and see how he is.
"That's three players, and I imagine there will be a few more that turn up at training on Tuesday sore and we'll just have to see where we are then."
Captain Stuart Hogg said he shared his gaffer’s frustration at having lost out by a whisker for the second game in a row.
“It's a frustrating outcome. For large periods of that game, we showed what we are about. We really challenged them. We probably just lacked that clinical edge at times," said the 28-year-old.
“The big thing we've talked about in the changing room is not being in a position to be chasing the game. We believe we are a lot better than that and unfortunately we’ve had to chase 24 points, which isn't ideal.
“We know we're a lot better than that, a lot better than we showed at times.
“This one really, really hurts.
“It's really, really frustrating, but what's happened has happened. We can't change it."