Townsend praises character of team after Australia win

Townsend praises character of team after Australia win

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend said the character of the team was the most pleasing aspect, following a dramatic 15-13 win over the Wallabies at BT Murrayfield yesterday.

The Scots went ahead thanks to a first-half Hamish Watson try but Dave Rennie's men got themselves back into the match and led 10-7 following a try form Rob Leota early in the second-half.

However, an acrobatic score from debutant Ewan Ashman in the corner and a late penalty from Finn Russell was enough for Scotland to record their third consecutive win over Australia.

Gregor Townsend, said: "It was a weird first-half, both teams looked to play but weren't always accurate. There were some big moments which required referee and TMO intervention, but I didn't think there was a flow to the game for either team.

"We were disappointed and frustrated at half-time, even though we were ahead on the scoreboard and the Australia try when they were a man down really shook us into gear.

"I thought we showed a real edge about our play after that, we had to front up physically. There were a lot of scrums, a lot of mauls and we were still able to play with width which we'd been aiming to do in the first-half and the character of the team as opposed to the performance today were the real pleasing things. The impact of all 23 as well, we found a way to win in the end."

Despite going behind in the second-half, Townsend was pleased with the way his players dug deep to get the win and believes recent away wins over England and France have given his players belief that they can win tight matches.

He said: "There has been a calmness around the group since we've been working with them for the last two or three weeks and that's through players who have evolved over the last few years into leaders.

"The togetherness of the group and the trust they have in each other and how we want to play, but also belief. I think calmness comes from belief and they've had some big performances over the last six to nine months that have created that belief and we needed some calm heads in that second-half, especially when the crowd were getting right into it.

"It was very pleasing to get the win, our coaching box were more emotional than normal, just having crowds back at BT Murrayfield and seeing them so excited about the win hit home to us."

Scotland now have just five days before they welcome world champions South Africa to BT Murrayfield and Townsend knows there is a lot for them to work on this week as they prepare to face Rassie Erasmus's side, who travel north following a win over Wales in Cardiff.

He added: "There will be a number of aspects we have to improve, just on where we set our own standards, but I'd put a lot of that down to rustiness as a team. Obviously players have been playing individually all season, but just connecting as a team again is always difficult when you try and transfer that from training into a proper Test match. That will be where we focus first of all, but after that will be the challenge the Springboks bring.

"They have a unique way of playing, it is very demanding physically. A huge effort will be required from the forwards at set-piece, huge effort will be required in dealing with their kicking game and we've got to be as accurate and innovative at finding ways to get around their defence or through there defence or over their defence."

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