Townsend proud of Scots' mettle

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend wants to see more of the resilience his team showed on Sunday (AEDT), after a record win over the Wallabies.

After pushing New Zealand all the way last week, Townsend said his side was adamant it needed to back that up with a win, and that’s exactly what they did, completing a clean sweep in two encounters this season against Australia.

This was a different clash to their victory in June, Scotland electric in attack as opposed to the attritional defensive performance from Sydney, and that variation pleased Townsend.

“When Scotland play at their best, it's a game of speed and a game of work rate,” he said.

“It's great to watch as well, but I do think it brings our strengths as players, it takes a special group of players, special leadership group, drives standards, keep people calm, when things test us.

“The win in the summer was a different context because it wasn't as open as today's game but it was a lot of hard work going on in defence and showed that the players are capable.

“They're all aware there's a number of players who could be playing today (who were ruled out).

“The depth we have, what the players are doing coming from age group into pro teams, it's an exciting time to be involved with Scottish rugby.”

Fullback Stuart Hogg, arguably the side’s most dangerous player, was ruled out in the warm up at Murrayfield, with bench player Byron McGuigan coming onto the wing and Sean Maitland shifting to fullback.

McGuigan was named man of the match and scored a double in Scotland’s 53-24 victory, while Maitland had a major say on the game.

“When you have to say to them five minutes before, or 10 minutes before kick-off that there's a change, you know there's going to be a slight effect and players will be asking questions, ‘What does that mean on a certain moves?’,” he said.

“But we kept the focus, that shows their resilience and shows the depth we have in certain positions and especially in the back line.”

Captain John Barclay said the score was one thing, but it was the way they found victory that meant the most.

“That was the template of how we're trying to play - the speed, the chaotic way we're trying to play,” he said.

“Australia are a very good team, they lost a player but sometimes that galvanises a team and it (the win)was absolutely fantastic and it meant a lot to the guys this afternoon.”

Scotland’s players go back to their domestic clubs after this weekend, with the Six Nations in February their next Test competition.