Wales v Scotland: Gregor Townsend on playing ‘strange’ Six Nations Test in Llanelli

The last time Scotland won in Wales Tony Blair was prime minister and Gareth Gates was number one.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend with centre James Lang. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS

Since then there has been nothing but heartache in the Principality as ten different Scottish sides have travelled south and returned home defeated.

Gregor Townsend, who was part of the last victorious team in 2002, acknowledged that this Saturday’s renewal will have a different feel to it. The game will be played in Llanelli, not Cardiff, and the stadium will be deserted.

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“It will feel strange next week,” said the Scotland coach. “We’re not playing at the Principality, we’re playing at the Parc y Scarlets. It will feel different but we’ve got to adapt to the new circumstances and overcome it, just like we’ll be planning to overcome Wales as a team.”

Townsend was heartened by many aspects of Friday’s eight-try 48-7 win over Georgia but said there were “things to work on” and expects Wales to pose a far tougher test.

“Wales will provide more threats in attack and defence and I’m pretty confident the players will be aware of having to be better next week.

“Wales are a strong side and it’s a Six Nations game. It’s a big step up from a friendly on a Friday night. Next week is an away game against Wales with points at stake in the Six Nations.

“It will be an opportunity for those selected and I’m sure you’ll see an improved performance.

“We learned a lot [on Friday]. The areas where Georgia had some success, notably their try, we’ll learn how we can defend that better.

“We learned about our own patterns in attack. Why they worked at times – we want to repeat that – but also what we need to do better.

“The forwards got the biggest learning. There were a lot of mauls for them to attack with and to defend, a lot of scrums. That’s the best success you can have against quality opposition as a forward pack.

“We know next week will be different. Wales are one of the best teams in Europe so it will be a big step up from Friday night.”

Townsend took satisfaction from the fact that each member of his back three chipped in with a try against Georgia, although the all-Edinburgh triumvirate will likely be broken up by the return of Stuart Hogg this week.

“We looked at our back three and thought that if they could get on the ball, there would be chances of tries there,” said Townsend of the Blair Kinghorn-Darcy Graham-Duhan van der Merwe combination.

“All three of them scored, so that was pleasing. It was hard for them in the first half when Georgia defended very well in the wide channels, but they did the right jobs, making sure they stayed infield and set up rucks to give us another phase to attack off.

“It was good work rate from Duhan for his try, to get on an inside ball. You’ve got to credit the work of Finn [Russell], realising the space was there, but also for the winger to get off his wing and make sure he’s an option inside the ten.”

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