Townsend urges Scotland to improve after momentous win against Wales

  • Scotland win opening two Six Nations matches for first time
  • Head coach pays tribute to Doddie Weir after milestone victory

The plaudits of an unprecedented two wins from two in the Six Nations were still ringing in his ears, but Gregor Townsend is more interested in gearing up for Scotland’s next two matches: France in Paris in a fortnight, followed by Ireland back at Murrayfield in a month.

“It feels like an improved performance,” Scotland’s coach said of this record 35-7 win over Wales. “If it was a seven out of 10 last week [against England at Twickenham], it’s moved up to an eight, and we’ll have to improve again. The next two teams that we play are ranked one and two in the world. We’ll have to get to nine out of 10 to beat them.”

His captain, Jamie Ritchie, acknowledged the problems with consistency that Scotland have had in the past. The rugby world held their breath to see whether they could respond to last week’s win. “We’ve been questioned on that before,” he said. “Could we back it up? We haven’t done it in the past. That was our main theme throughout the week. We wanted consistency. I’ll keep hammering it home: a successful tournament for us is five good performances. That’s two ticked off, but there’s big areas of improvement as well.”

For Wales the search for a response from a rare two losses from two is now in earnest. Their captain, Ken Owens, is preparing to pull his young team together for the anticipated onslaught. “We’ve got to stay tight as a squad and be honest with each other, because there’s going to be some grenades coming from outside. But that’s what we do in Wales. We’re very comfortable with that.”

For Scotland, the motivations are almost exclusively of the positive variety now, as they strive to build momentum. Townsend paid tribute to his former teammate Doddie Weir after the first Test match at Murrayfield since his death at the end of November.

“We were playing for a trophy that meant a lot to us. It’s unusual to play for trophies in the Six Nations. We play for the Calcutta Cup, which is the oldest trophy in the world, and that motivates us. Now this trophy motivates us, the Doddie Weir Cup.

“He’d be proud. He would message me before and after games, wishing us all the best, with a picture of him having a Guinness or a red wine at home. Today was a big day for [his wife] Kathy and the boys. For them to feel the love that everyone’s got for the family and for Doddie’s legacy made this a special milestone day.”


Michael Aylwin at BT Murrayfield

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