Gregor Townsend urges Scots to end autumn internationals on a high against Japan

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Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend aims to use the lessons of Saturday’s defeat by South Africa to deliver their best autumn performance against Japan.

Townsend’s team threatened to follow up impressive victories over Tonga and Australia by downing the world champions as they led 10-8 at half-time.

Scotland matched the Springboks for tries thanks to Stuart Hogg’s double, which took the captain to joint top of the all-time try-scorers list for his country with 24.

But a 15-9 penalty count told for the visitors, who kicked themselves out of sight in the final quarter to win 30-15.

Scotland round off the Autumn Nations Series next Saturday against Japan, who suffered a 60-5 defeat against Ireland earlier this month.

“Japan will be a tough opponent,” Townsend said. “We won’t look too much at their result against Ireland.

Japan v Scotland
Scotland lost to Japan in the 2019 World Cup (David Davies/PA)

“They came close to beating Australia and they obviously beat us two years ago so we know what a difficult team Japan are and if you give them ball they will cause you problems.

“So that will be a very tough game for us and it will show the resilience of the group if we can bounce back after a painful defeat and put what we learned on Saturday and what we have learned over the last few weeks into our best performance of this Autumn Nations Series.

“That’s all we are working towards. We thought we would get it out on Saturday and we would have needed our very best performance to beat the world champions.

“Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. We will work again to do that next weekend.”

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