Gregor Townsend praises ‘consistent’ home performances after Fiji win

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Pic: SNS/SRU/Bill Murray
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Pic: SNS/SRU/Bill Murray
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Ahead of this autumn series, coach Gregor Townsend suggested that his side stuttered when they went into a Test as favourites.

Yesterday would appear to have put that suggestion to bed. The Scots started as 16-point favourites and finished this match 37 points ahead of the island side who were expected to run them close.

“I do believe that it is different at home than when we’re away in terms of us being favourites,” Townsend explained.

“We’ve had a level of performance at home, no matter whether we are underdogs or favourites, that has been consistent.”

There were any number of reasons for Townsend to smile after the final whistle yesterday. His team had scored eight tries for the first time since Australia visited this time last year and any number of players put their hands up for selection against the Springboks next weekend.

And while it is never wise to try and second guess the Scotland selection, we can be reasonably sure that Tommy Seymour will feature in the next starting XV.

The Glasgow winger has had something of a dry spell at international level in the last little while, his last Test try coming in March of 2017, but he claimed a hat trick of touchdowns yesterday afternoon and, had Peter Horne made a simple pass in the first half, he would have walked away with four.

“It’s brilliant,” said his coach. “Tommy had a really tough year last year and to see him back in full form, full confidence and enjoying his rugby again at Glasgow and getting that transferring to Scotland was great.

“He’s a really important player for us. He was vice-captain last week, he’s someone who talks a lot during games.”

The other key to Scotland’s win adopted a somewhat lower post-match profile but it can’t be coincidental that scrum-half and skipper Greig Laidlaw was restored to the starting line-up for this monumental win.

“I think our forwards did a tremendous job in tiring them out,” said the No.9.

“We talked about that and holding on to the ball and going into a driving game when we needed, so that was really pleasing. And really pleasing that we scored just before half time when we were maybe getting frustrated.”

Laidlaw asked the referee about a penalty try but the Scots’ driving maul is unlikely to get much change from the Springboks forwards when they arrive at Murrayfield.

“They are a big team and pride themselves on that,” said Laidlaw, looking ahead to the next challenge. “Maybe some games I have been involved in in the past we have lost that physical battle so we need to win that.

“They are not too long off beating New Zealand so they are a top team and they have a new coaching staff and are evolving their game.

“They are a top side but so are we and we are looking forward to coming back to a packed out BT Murrayfield next week where our record is getting stronger and stronger.”

Can Scotland beat the Bokke?

“Yes,” came the one word reply.