Townsend says Scotland must improve discipline

Townsend says Scotland must improve discipline

Following this afternoon's 31-16 defeat to Ireland in Dublin, Gregor Townsend said Scotland must improve their discipline ahead of the Guinness Six Nations.

The Scotland Head Coach was disappointed in the number of penalties his side gave away after making a positive start at the Aviva Stadium in the final Autumn Nations Cup match.

Scotland conceded 13 penalties in the game and Townsend says they can't keep putting themselves under so much pressure.

Townsend, said: "Just before half-time we allowed Ireland to come back into the game with the yellow card. In the first 10 minutes of the second-half we made a couple of errors which they capitalised on.

"We know we have to improve our discipline, because apart from that there were so many good things. Really good physicality and pace in our game and with a new team it was great to see the cohesion at times.

"The first 35 minutes is some of the best rugby we've played all year, we showed in the first-half who we were. We went from a position where we felt we could win the game to the game getting away from us in the second-half.

"It's frustrating to have such a big penalty count against us. We were on the edge a few times and we've just got to know where that edge is, because I felt we were comfortable in defence when we weren't giving away penalties. When you're defending in your own 22 it's much tougher."

It was a disappointing end to 2020 for Scotland, however Townsend believes there are many positives to take away from their Autumn campaign, which saw them beat Georgia, Wales and Italy.

He added: "We've learnt a lot about our players because we've utilised a lot off players, so to give them feedback has been useful.

"We've learnt a lot about our set-piece and we've seen players who wouldn't maybe have a got as many minutes of international rugby and that's good for them because they know if they put the work in at training or come into our camp on form, they'll get that opportunity.

"We want to see them take that experience and that motivation to play well over the next few months. To know we've got a bigger depth of squad is encouraging."

Scotland captain, Stuart Hogg was naturally disappointed after the match, but says they'll be better when the Guinness Six Nations comes around in February.

He said: "Ireland are a very clever team. In the first-half we stuck to our structures and we were finding space, but in the second-half we didn't get as much ball as we did in the first-half.

"We've had 39 players wear the Scotland jersey over the last six weeks and we feel we're on the right track. We're nowhere near the finished article, but we understand why mistakes are happening.

"I'm gutted that we've lost the test match, but I'm proud of the boys efforts. I said to them to empty the tank and show what it means to play for Scotland.

"Duhan [van der Merwe] is an unbelievable talent and if you give him the ball he'll do some magic. Jaco [van der Walt] has been unbelievable in camp and I love his energy.

"He's going to drive Scotland to be better alongside Finn [Russell], Adam [Hastings] and Duncan [Weir] and we're fortunate to have four very competitive tens and hopefully come February they're all fit."

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