Gregor Townsend wants Scotland players’ intensity to make up for lack of fans

Gregor Townsend has called on his Scotland players to compensate for the absence of supporters by bringing an intensity to their play in the autumn internationals.

Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 7:05 am
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

While the Scottish Rugby Union hasn’t given up hope of having some fans at BT Murrayfield it would require a major shift in government policy.

The players are getting used to playing in empty stadiums with their clubs and the Scotland coach hopes they can maintain standards during the six-Test schedule which begins a week on Friday with a home match against Georgia.

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“Our players have had to play during this period with no supporters and they’ve adjusted to it really well,” said Townsend.

“You forget there are no fans there when you see the level of quality and intensity. The players have a big role to play in terms of the energy they can bring to make sure it is a Test match rather than a training game, because with no noise it could feel like a training game.”

Townsend would love to see fans return by the end of the autumn, with Scotland due to host France and Fiji on 22 and 28 November. However, he is realistic enough to know it remains a long shot as the Scottish Government bids to combat the recent spike in coronavirus cases.

“We were more optimistic a couple of months ago than we were a week ago,” said the coach. “Let’s hope we can get some supporters back whether that is by the start of the autumn nations game or our final game at BT Murrayfield. It helps our players, and our supporters are missing sport.”

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