Scotland: Gregor Townsend calls for consistency from his side in their Six Nations campaign

Six Nations: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend Credit: Alamy
Six Nations: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend Credit: Alamy

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend is looking for more consistency from his team during this year’s Six Nations.

The side starts their tournament with a tricky fixture against England at Twickenham. The Test will be Steve Borthwick’s first game at the helm of the Red Rose.

Scotland has a poor record at Twickenham, losing 16 times between 1985 and 2017 but managing a draw and an 11-6 win in their last two visits.

Tricky Twickenham

Townsend knows the challenge ahead and admits it will be difficult to face England on their home patch, particularly since their victory on the last visit was in an empty stadium.

“We know what a big challenge going to Twickenham is,” Townsend said.

“While we played really well two years ago, there weren’t any spectators that day (amid the Coronavirus pandemic) so we know this is a bigger challenge. We believe the team is ready for that challenge.

“Accuracy and belief stand out. The accuracy in 2018 (at Murrayfield) especially our passing game, was excellent that day, and defensively we held firm.

“We talk around being more consistent. The last two Six Nations we’ve opened up with victories and haven’t followed them up in round two.

“We have to improve within games as well, which is what really encouraged me in the Autumn Nations Series this season.

“We went 14-0 down against New Zealand after seven minutes, and in the next 53 minutes we were 23-0 up on the scoreboard (Scotland scored 23 unanswered points). That takes a lot of leadership from the players and accuracy to get back and score the points.

“It’s being aware that things will sometimes go against you and maybe you will go behind. It’s dealing with it in the game, and the players did that really well in the autumn.

“I really believe our supporters come to our games believing that we can win.

“Expectation brings more demand, more responsibility, and I suppose criticism when you don’t reach those levels, which we have to take on board.”

A different England

The Calcutta Cup clash will be the first without Eddie Jones since 2015, and Townsend expects a more simplified England side.

Townsend added: “They (England) have got a huge depth to choose from. They are playing at home, and Twickenham has always been a tough place for any opposition team to go to.

“If you are trying to predict what rugby they are going to play, maybe it is going to be a bit more simplified because it is a new coaching group and they have got four or five training sessions before we play them.

“There will be a big focus on the set-piece.”

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