The side’s speed and attacking prowess have never been in doubt but the grittiness needed to close out important victories was very much in evidence at Parc y Scarlets.
That is in large part due to the work of Steve Tandy, Pieter de Villiers and John Dalziel who head coach Gregor Townsend has brought into the fold at different points over the last 12 months.
“They have all made a big impact, they are all great men who have bought into the team ethos and the relationships they have with us as players is building nicely,” said prop Zander Fagerson who was a solid presence during the 14-10 win in Llanelli.
Welshman Tandy joined as defence coach last December from Super Rugby side Waratahs; former France prop de Villiers was appointed scrum coach ahead of this year’s Six Nations and forwards coach Dalziel became part of the Scotland set-up in August after leaving Glasgow Warriors.
“I worked with JD at Glasgow before and him coming into this camp has been great, he is good with the scrummage and I like the way he works,” added Fagerson.
“Full credit to the three guys coming in, they brought different structures and what not, but the guys bought into what they are wanting to do and they make it simple for us to buy into.
“They help guys to grow as individuals and as a unit and they are three great assets for Scottish Rugby.”
As Townsend noted, this is a relatively young pack but Saturday felt like a coming of age. The Scotland head coach described his side’s lineout performance in the second half as “outstanding” and the visitors also had that edge in the scrum, in so small part due to the work of de Villiers it seems.
“We are really lucky that Pieter came in for the Six Nations and he has been awesome to work with, all the boys have bought into what he brings,” said Fagerson
Scotland’s driving maul from a lineout provided the game’s big moment, allowing substitute hooker Stuart McInally to be pushed over for the try which swung momentum back in the visitors’ favour.
It was a ploy which had been road-tested against Georgia in the friendly at BT Murrayfield and worked a treat in Wales, with some of the more diminutive backs lending a hand.
“Big Darcy came into a pushing position to get involved,” smiled Fagerson.
“During lockdown we did a lot of analysis and looked at lots of different teams and it was something that we thought we could develop, JD has brought in some new things and it is evolving and it is really great to be a part of that.
“We are a really tight bunch, you know, it is a great bunch of boys who come into camp with the common goal to do well for their country and what to make us as strong as possible.
“We ‘switched on’ as soon as we came back into camp a couple of weeks ago and we celebrate the small wins in games and enjoy ourselves.
“A Scotland team full of players playing with smiles on their faces is pretty dangerous.”