No changes to the way Scotland play, vows Gregor Townsend

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: SNS/SRU
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: SNS/SRU
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Gregor Townsend insists Scotland will stick to their free-flowing instincts despite being agonisingly edged out by South Africa in a thrilling Test match at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.

With Argentina closing the autumn series this weekend, it will then be on to a huge 2019 with the Six Nations and World Cup to look forward to. The Scots were magnificent at times on Saturday, scoring world-class tries through Pete Horne and Hamish Watson but, ultimately, they paid for occasional looseness and inaccuracies against a physical and streetwise Springboks side, losing 26-20.

Stand-off Finn Russell made a few wayward choices but coach Townsend defended his playmaker and expressed pride in the team’s performance.

“It was tough for those players close to the ruck, a narrow defence that flies up,” he said.

“If people like Huw Jones, Stuart Hogg and the wingers are getting the ball, a lot of that is to do with the 10. We definitely got things right, were able to score points. We just didn’t keep it going right to the end of the match.”

Townsend added: “We have to play to our strengths. And our strengths against South Africa were players like Huw Jones, Tommy Seymour, Sean Maitland, Stuart Hogg. If we play conservatively, they’re not going to get on the ball.”

Hogg had a superb game before going off with an ankle problem which Townsend said was precautionary and not linked to his recent injury.

Meanwhile, South Africa were waiting to hear last night if skipper Siya Kolisi, who appeared to butt Horne with the back of his head during a first-half ruck during the game, will be cited.