Townsend excited by the return of international rugby

Townsend excited by the return of international rugby

With news that Scotland will encounter six international fixtures over a seven-week period from the tail end of October, Head Coach Gregor Townsend spoke of the challenges that his squad will face.

A busy calendar sees the Scots welcome Georgia to BT Murrayfield on 23 October, before completing their 2020 Guinness Six Nations campaign against Wales and then embarking on the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup competition.

Townsend said: “It will be a challenge for both teams, getting combinations working again. Georgia have played a number of games against quality opposition over the past 12 months. We played them twice and of course they went on and competed in the World Cup, so they are a dangerous side.

“We know their real strengths are in the forward pack and the development side of their game is getting better, the way their U20s play and the more they gain experience, the better they’ll get.”

After facing Wales in a rescheduled final 2020 Guinness Six Nations fixture on 31 October, a week’s break precedes four weekends of international action by way of the Autumn Nations Cup 2020, where Scotland will compete in Group B alongside France, Italy and Fiji.

Townsend added: “We have four games in a row after Wales which will feel a little like the World Cup and we will have to manage our resources during that time, but it is a new tournament with a trophy to go out and try to win, so we’ll want to play our best rugby over those four games.

“There’s real competition for places just now, there as during the Six Nations, both within the camp and just outside, so I’m sure there’ll be opportunities for those playing really well.

“A lot has gone on since [Scotland’s last game against France on 8 March] but we’ll look into the future rather than look into the past. We will look to build upon the fundamentals we put in pace earlier in the year for these games. It will be a new team through potential injuries or form, it’s a new season and we’ve got to adapt to the challenges that are there.

“They’re great opponents, France and Italy, as well as Fiji. It’ll be a great test for us over those three weeks and then who we play in the fourth game will be determined by how we do in those three games.”

The gradual return of sport is something that will excite people across the world, a notion that Scotland’s Head Coach alluded to: “Someone said to me recently that sport is the most important of the unimportant things in life and I think everyone involved in sport in some way would agree with that. We’ve missed it and as it slowly comes back, you realise what a great part of our lives it is.

“Let’s hope we’re able to have supporters at our games at BT Murrayfield because I know they love that experience, but also our players love the energy that our supporters create and have created over the past two or three years.”

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