Gregor Townsend expressed his pride in the Scottish national rugby team after their close defeat to France for the second time in a week. The Scots, who had staged a remarkable comeback from 21-3 down in their previous encounter, fought back from a 27-10 deficit in Saint-Etienne on Saturday to level the match at 27-27. However, a late penalty from Thomas Ramos secured a 30-27 win for the World Cup hosts. Despite the loss, Townsend was encouraged by his team’s performance against a formidable opponent, just weeks before their opening World Cup match against South Africa.
Townsend praised the character and competitiveness of his players, acknowledging their desire to win. He expressed disappointment at not securing the victory or even a draw, but remained optimistic about the team’s potential. The coach emphasized the need to play consistently well for longer periods, highlighting the team’s ability to win possession, strong set-pieces, and scoring impressive tries.
Scotland began the match strongly, leading 10-6 at the half-hour mark. However, Ali Price’s yellow card provided an opportunity for France to take control of the game. Townsend regretted conceding two tries early in the second half but was pleased with the team’s resilience in the final 20 minutes, which gave them a real chance of securing only their second away victory over France in the 21st century.
Townsend commended the effort, ambition, accuracy, and physicality of the team throughout the game. He acknowledged the pressure they faced while being a man down in the first half and expressed pride in their togetherness and skills on display. However, he expressed disappointment that they were unable to capitalize on their efforts.
The coach is set to announce his final 33-man World Cup squad, meaning four players will be excluded from the current pool. When asked if the defeat had influenced his selection, Townsend said that his focus was on the game rather than the World Cup. He praised the players’ dedication and fitness, stating that they have the capability to perform well in the tournament.
In conclusion, despite the narrow defeat to France, Gregor Townsend was proud of his team’s performance and character. He highlighted their strengths and emphasized the need for consistency over longer periods. With the announcement of the final World Cup squad approaching, the coach believes that many players will put forth strong performances to compete for a spot in the team.