Gregor Townsend wants more from Scotland despite three wins at Six Nations

By Andy BurkeBBC Scotland

Gregor Townsend says he is "somewhat satisfied" with his first Six Nations as Scotland head coach.

However, he admits he is not pleased with how his side has performed at times during the campaign.

After losing heavily away to Wales, beating France and England at home and going down to Ireland in Dublin, the Scots rounded off their campaign with a 27-29 win over Italy in Rome.

"Three wins is a big achievement," Townsend said.

Scotland secured a third-place finish in the Six Nations for the second year running, the first time they have have achieved that feat since 1996.

Townsend continued: "We're not pleased with how we played against Wales and with not taking chances against Ireland or our first half performance [against Italy].

"Nothing's ever perfect and we understand there will be times when we don't play as well and we have to find a way to get better, find a way to win. That's what we did [against Italy]".

The undoubted highlight of the campaign was the thrilling 25-13 win over England at Murrayfield, Scotland's first Calcutta Cup victory in a decade. Even that performance, however, left room for improvement according to Townsend.

"The England performance was a great performance and a great win because of what it meant for the country, but having watched it a few times I know we could have been better - and that was probably our best performance," he said.

"We demand a lot of our players. We know they can deliver and it is about doing that over 80 minutes and also away from home against different opposition. That's the challenge we have.

"This is a brilliant championship. The standard of rugby has gone up over the past few years. It is very hard to win away from home."

Huw Jones in action for Scotland.
The highlights of Scotland's Six Nations was the win over England at Murrayfield

Saturday's win in Rome marked the end of Townsend's first season in charge, and he has relished every moment in the top job.

"I've loved it," said Townsend, who replaced Vern Cotter last summer.

"I loved the summer experience, playing away in new places, Singapore, Sydney and Suva, the atmosphere at Murrayfield in our home games.

"When we got the bus to the Italy game it stopped at traffic lights and we were right in the middle of the Doddie Gump march, where there looked to be 10,000 supporters. It's a brilliant environment to be in.

"We feel very privileged to be in the roles we are in as coaches. But we know a lot of work has to go in over the next 18 months - the next 12 months to have a better Six Nations championship and then 18 months to have a good World Cup."

With a summer tour to Canada, USA and Argentina on the horizon, Townsend suggested he may look to blood some new players.

He could also take the opportunity to rest some key men who have played a lot of rugby over the past year, including Greig Laidlaw, Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg, who all toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions last summer.

"The summer tour will be one that we will look at as a way to keep improving, but also to introduce new players to the rugby we aspire to play, players who could have a chance of making the World Cup squad in a year's time," Townsend said.

"We will see what the next two months brings. We are conscious we had two or three guys on the Lions tour, so it would be a long season to go from that to a summer tour at the end of it.

"Some players might need some medical care at the end of the season, or surgery, so they can have a full season afterwards.

"But we are also conscious of the momentum we want to carry on. We want to make sure we have a strong squad to take on Canada, the USA and, particularly, Argentina in the third game."


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