Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Gregor Townsend plays down Scotland's 6 Nations defeat to Wales

Gregor Townsend plays down Scotland's 6 Nations defeat to Wales

Greig Laidlaw booted 22 points in his first test start in almost a year to guide Scotland to a 32-26 win over France on Sunday, kickstarting the team's Six Nations campaign after last week's mauling in Wales.

Replacements: Adrien Pélissié, Eddy Ben Arous, Cedate Gomes Sa, Paul Gabrillagues, Louis Picamoles, Baptiste Serin, Anthony Belleau, Benjamin Fall. But the veteran scrum-half also brings knowledge of the French - four of his Clermont-Auvergne team mates are in their side - and authority. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) 12.

"We've seen a response from the players in training this week and that needs to continue into and through the 80-plus minutes of the match, because France will pose a massive and immensely physical challenge".

France - G Palis; T Thomas, R Lamerat, G Doumayrou, V Vakatawa; L Beauxis, M Machenaud; J Poirot, G Guirado (C), R Slimani, A Iturria, S Vahaamahina, W Lauret, Y Camara, M Tauleigne. John Barclay (Scarlets - captain) 7. It's important whoever is playing inside and outside Finn are helping him through attack or defence. Scotland's lineout drive was halted, but Gray and Gilchrist helped spread the ball left, where Russell was well positioned to give the scoring pass to Maitland.

Recall: Greig Laidlaw offers control and experience at scrum-half.

But Townsend wasn't getting away from the fact that some players had dropped to the bench or out of the 23 altogether for blunter reasons.

"We hope it will be a really important factor", said Townsend.

Scotland's head coach Gregor Townsend. We're just trying to get on with it.

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"Laidlaw to 10 was mentioned during the week", said Townsend.

Joe Schmidt will expect his team to develop as the competition progresses and they have a good opportunity to do so with three successive home matches before a potential decider at England in the final game. "There is still a lot of belief in the team but we have to go out and put in a performance". But, the stinging criticism directed at the Scots over the last week, according to Barclay, has made his men all the more determined to record a win today.

"We've got to adapt to that". We needed to keep going at the French but wanted to keep Greig on the field, keep leading and kicking well.

He struggled for quick ball but grew into the game and was faultless with the boot, kicking 22 points, to lead the fightback. We had expected a much better performance and there was no indicators in the build-up.

Sometimes he can force plays and if he can manage the game better, he should be able to find the right time to launch Scotland's risky runners.

"You have to be tough to beat and we weren't at the weekend".

"We are determined to recapture how we played in 2017 - and not what we've shown so far in 2018".

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