Townsend: We need to learn to win these games
Scotland’s five-game winning run came to an end against France in the Autumn Nations Cup on Sunday afternoon.
In a tightly-fought encounter at BT Murrayfield, Fabien Galthie’s side won 22-15 to take command of Group A.
The sides went in 12-12 at the break, but France scored the only try of the match shortly after half-time, which proved decisive.
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend was naturally disappointed with the result, but praised the effort of his players.
Townsend said: “It was an arm wrestle, which was going to be decided by one or two moments. We knew it was going to be a game with a lot of kicking.
“I thought the effort of our players, a number of times during the game was outstanding. France had a couple of penalty advantages and when they moved the ball wide looked certain to score, but our cover tackles were excellent.
“France had the upper hand [in the scrum] and got very good yards in the maul a couple of times. We’ll look at what we can improve defensively, but recognise France are one of the best packs around just now and they showed that.
“We adapted better in the second half and I felt we were unlucky not to get a couple of penalties.”
Scotland came away with a losing bonus point, but Townsend says they created plenty of opportunities to add to their score and believes they will need to learn to win these types of matches.
He added: “I was really pleased with the character and toughness our players showed once more.
“If you look back over 2020, we’ve shown real commitment, real togetherness, we’ve shown we’re tough to break down and tough to beat and that was another game which underlined that.
“But we had penalties against us and some errors of execution both in attack and defence, which we know we have to eradicate if we’re going to be a team which wins these games and reaches our potential.”
Townsend revealed Blair Kinghorn went to hospital last night for an X-ray on his finger and Rory Sutherland is making good progress as he rehabs an ankle injury and could feature in Scotland’s final Autumn Nations Cup match at the start of December.