Scotland told to keep to gameplan at half-time against England - Gregor Townsend

By Heather DewarBBC Scotland

Gregor Townsend says he had to convince his Scotland players to continue with their pre-match gameplan before staging a famous comeback to draw with England.

Fly-half Finn Russell earlier revealed that he had an argument with his head coach at half-time as their side trailed 31-0 at Twickenham.

"We went back to the process of what we set out to do tactically before the game," Townsend told BBC Scotland.

"That was difficult to get into their heads because it wasn't working."

Russell had complained that instructions to kick the ball were playing into England's hands.

"This had been a carry on from the middle of the first half when things were obviously not going right for us and the natural instinct of any players, and especially the stand-off, is to try to make things happen," Townsend said.

"But, in the first half, we were playing from too deep and England's defence were just getting confidence from them knocking us down.

"Once we got our system in defence in proper place and got our kick-chase much better, it gave us positions on the field to go and attack and the players did that really well,"

Russell went on to impress during a second half in which Scotland scored an unprecedented five tries as they ended their Six Nations campaign with a 38-38 draw.

"In the second half, Finn in particular, his decision-making was outstanding, his kicking was on the front foot and we had real balance in our game - and we out-kicked the opposition in the second half and that gave us better ball to attack off," Townsend said.

"To score five tries in a half does not happen very often in international rugby and it never happens at Twickenham.

"That's the most tries England have conceded at Twickenham against anybody, so that's a real credit to the way the players took the game to the opposition in the second half."

'We can take on best teams in world'

Scotland fly-half Finn Russell kicks against England
Finn Russell's kicking game led to a half-time argument with coach Townsend

The draw with England gave Townsend fresh cause for optimism ahead of this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"It says so much about who they are, what it means to play for Scotland, how they would never give up and the toughest of environments to do it in," he said of his players.

"The Scotland team in the last 100 years have only won four times I believe at Twickenham and to be trailing so much on the scoreboard, nobody would have ever predicted that we could have got back into the game."

Scotland finished second bottom of the Six Nations, but Townsend takes heart from the performances of players who arrived as replacements following a long list of injury withdrawals.

"It was a great way to finish the championship," he added. "The France game was the most disappointing and the first half at Twickenham, but there were a lot of moments in games where the players did very well.

"To push Wales, who ended up being Grand Slam champions, very close and to have opportunities to win that game shows that we can play and take on the best teams in the world."

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