Six Nations: Scotland boss Gregor Townsend left frustrated by two-week wait 'to put things right' as Chris Harris update given

Gregor Townsend cut a frustrated figure as he faced up to the end of Scotland’s Six Nations title challenge with two rounds of fixtures still to be played.

The 36-17 home defeat by Grand Slam-chasing France leaves the Scots fourth in the table, nine points behind the leaders and five adrift of England, the team they beat on the opening weekend.

Compounding the coach’s vexation is the fact that he and his squad will have to wait two weeks before they can try to return to winning ways.

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There are no fixtures next weekend and Scotland will return to action on March 12 when they take on Italy in Rome before rounding off the campaign against Ireland in Dublin seven days later.

Rory Darge scored a try on his first Scotland start.Rory Darge scored a try on his first Scotland start.
Rory Darge scored a try on his first Scotland start.

“I think we’d all like to play France tomorrow and get another opportunity to put things right,” said Townsend who is presiding over his fifth Six Nations campaign as Scotland head coach.

“Italy will be a different game, a different opponent and we’ll have a different team I would imagine depending on who’s available for us in two weeks' time. We’ll have a different focus on how we get our best game out.

“When you've got a two-week gap in the Six Nations, like we’ve had in the last two games, and it’s on the back of a defeat you feel very frustrated that you can’t get back out there and show who we are as a team for 80 minutes.”

Scotland were second best against an impressive French side who ran in six tries but the home team were left to rue two golden opportunities to score tries just before half-time when the score was 12-10 to the visitors.

Scotland's Chris Harris looks dejected during the match.Scotland's Chris Harris looks dejected during the match.
Scotland's Chris Harris looks dejected during the match.

It wasn’t to be and Fabien Galthie’s side punished the Scots in ruthless fashion.

“They won more moments than us in the game and we didn't put them under enough pressure for the 80 minutes,” added Townsend. “We put ourselves under pressure at times and obviously France put us under pressure with their turnover ball in particular.

"There were a lot of positives, I thought our scrum was very strong against arguably one of the best scrummaging teams in the world.

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"Our maul defence was good too, we just need to trust that a little bit more. We did give away a couple of penalties in that area but the effort the players put in was huge throughout the 80 minutes.”

The coach refused to blame the late withdrawal from the team of Hamish Watson who tested positive for Covid.

“No, because Nick Haining and Rory Darge who replaced Hamish, with Rory moving to seven and Nick going into the team, were both very good," he said.

“The team showed their adaptability in that first half and played some really good rugby at times.”

Scotland lost Haining to a shoulder injury early in the second half and centre Chris Harris had to be withdrawn at half-time after failing a head injury assessment.

“He got a blow in a tackle just before half-time,” Townsend said of Harris. "It’s credit to one of his team-mates who notified the medics that he wasn’t himself at half-time and then he failed the HIA.”

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