More to come says Gregor Townsend as Scotland seek to equal all-time wins record

Gregor Townsend is confident there is plenty more to come from his squad as they seek to equal a Scottish record of six consecutive victories by the national side.

Gregor Townsend was pleased with how Scotland cut down the penalty count in the second half against Italy. Picture: Giampiero Sposito/Getty Images
Gregor Townsend was pleased with how Scotland cut down the penalty count in the second half against Italy. Picture: Giampiero Sposito/Getty Images

The Scots made it five straight wins for only the second time in the professional era as they opened their Autumn Nations Cup campaign with a 28-17 triumph Italy.

They last won five in a row in 2011 but you have to go back to the Grand Slam side of 1990 for six on the bounce.

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A tough match against France is next for Scotland, with Fabien Galthie’s side due at BT Murrayfield next Sunday.

Scotland's substitutes, including Oli Kebble, made a big impact.

Townsend’s side beat the French 28-17 in the Six Nations in Edinburgh back in February, the only defeat Les Bleus suffered in the championship.

The Scotland coach knows they will need to improve on their performance in Italy if they are to beat the French again. The visitors trailed for much of the match in Florence before producing a strong finish to secure a bonus-point win.

“There is more to come,” said Townsend. “We’ll look back at that game and know there are areas to improve, but we’ll also be delighted with that resolve to go out and win the game.

“Time was ticking on a bit at times in that second half, so if a decision doesn’t go your way like a try not being awarded, you start to think it’s maybe not your day.

“But the players had real belief that it was going to be their day. As a coaching group , what you ideally want is a game where the team wins, shows leadership on the field, plays well but also has some areas to then work on in training. There will be some for us before we play France.”

Scotland trailed 11-7 at half-time at the Stadio Artemio Franchi but Townsend praised his side’s second-half recovery.

“We were more ambitious,” he said. “There was a bit of a kicking match going on in the first half, and with the shorter pitch we thought we could run back more of those balls in the second half. It was great to see the back three making yards and creating problems in the Italian defence.

“Finally it was about discipline. We were getting frustrated with some of the calls in the first half but we were much improved in the second half. To have no penalties for that period of 37 minutes was a great effort from the squad.”

Townsend added: “Today’s performance did remind me of our last two games against Italy where they’ve been really tough to break down and we maybe haven’t been as accurate in the first half, but managed to put pressure on them in the second. Our bench made big impacts and we found a way to win.

“I love the calmness around the group when things aren’t going their way and there was a calm team at half-time as well. We knew we had to be better but we were looking for solutions rather than being frustrated at what had gone on in the first half.”

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