Townsend commends character of returning players
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend met the nation's media at BT Murrayfield Stadium yesterday, shortly after the Guinness Six Nations squad was announced across official channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
It was there he sought to pay tribute to newly appointed captain Stuart Hogg and the players who have batted to earn reselection in the 38-man group.
Townsend said: “I think he [Hogg] was a strong candidate, given his experience, his leadership ability and his desire to do the role.
“He’s a mature player in terms of how he contributes in meetings. He’s very consistent, obviously a very experienced player for us and he’s really passionate about Scotland, playing and the jersey.
“He’s doing a good job and he’s going to be supported with some experienced players around him. He’s going to work to bring the best out of them and we’re looking forward to seeing how he goes”.
Despite the recent changes to both the squad and coaching team, Townsend stressed that he will use this period to progress and heighten the team’s performance.
He said: “We review ourselves to see how I get better as Head Coach, how can we can get better as a coaching team and what players will help us improve and reach our potential.
“We have new players, some returning players and it’s great to see those returning players who have gone through a bit of adversity.
“I think of Cornell Du Preez with his serious injury, Rory Sutherland who had a serious injury and Matt Scott who had an injury - they have all got back into excellent form.
“It shows their character, it shows their ability and it shows their desire to play as best as they can and get back into our team.
“We just want to be better. We’ve got to be more consistent and tougher to beat. We know these are things we have to work on but the way we can beat teams is based around our effort, our skill and our speed.”
Townsend highlighted the players who were not selected for the squad due to injury, which include Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Bruce Flockhart (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Toulouse), James Lang (Harlequins), Darcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), Blade Thomson (Scarlets)– although Skinner looks set for a return soon.
He said: “Richie and Blade have both been out with head injuries, so are both unavailable right now.
“Another player that I want to mention that won’t be considered for us in the Six Nations is James Lang. He was outstanding for Harlequins this season, but he tore his hamstring.
“Sam Skinner is back full training and we’re hoping he plays for Exeter A Team this Monday.”