REACTION | Townsend: "There's a lot of room for improvement."
Scotland may have posted their highest ever score against Samoa, beating a previous record of 38-3 recorded during 2004’s victory over the South Sea Islanders in Wellington, however, Head Coach Gregor Townsend was adamant that his side are a work in progress heading into next week’s clash against New Zealand.
“There’s lots of room for improvement but we knew that would be the case,” explained Townsend.
“This is the first time this team has played together. We were playing an opposition who are going to force you into errors at times. They’re excellent players.
“We know, in all aspects of the game, that we have to be better. But, we knew that would be the case heading into next week.
“Today’s match probably just highlights a couple of aspects where we definitely need to be better in order to compete with, what are currently, the best team in the world next Saturday.”
Although Scotland scored after only two minutes after a chipped kick bounced kindly into the arms of Stuart Hogg, Samoa controlled much of the early proceedings and scored a timely try of their own through Josh Tyrell.
“Sometimes you don’t get going when you score early,” explained Townsend.
“I’ve been involved in games where a side scores early against us and then seem to fall off.
“After we scored, Samoa controlled a lot of the possession and then when we had it, we didn’t hold onto it enough.
“We didn’t play that great rugby during that period. But really, when Samoa came back into the game, that got our focus back. In those ten minutes before half-time, that was best we played throughout the game.
"Look, the fact we won was obviously great. The team worked tremendously hard in front of great crowd numbers to get that win."
“We were challenged a number of times to begin the first-half and in that second-half and we stayed ahead of the opposition."
“We are aware we’ve got lot of things to work on but we got a win and we scored a great number of points in an international, which is not usually the case at this level, when you’ve got two very good, very physical teams.”
Townsend was also quick to pay tribute to Samoa. The South Sea Islanders scored five tries of their own and were, at times, a joy to behold through their physical line-breaks and monstrous efforts in defence.
“Samoa played some really good rugby. They showed their power with their forward carries and Tim Nanai-Williams was a constant threat. He moved the ball really well. Their centres were able to break our tackles on more than one occasion. I thought they played really well.
“It’s a strange game when over 70 points are scored during a match. You don’t often see that in test rugby.
“I’m sure the neutrals would’ve loved that. It was very similar to the World Cup game, where it did look like anyone who had possession was going to come away with something.
“So, it’s a warning for us that we need to look after our possession and in defence we need to be much better.
“We won the game and we’ll move on. Our player’s focus will be even more increased going into next week. We realise we’re playing against a pretty good attacking team next week and there are things we need to do better.”