Gregor Townsend takes positives from Scotland’s defeat to USA
The Eagles hit back to down the Scots 30-29 in Houston.
Gregor Townsend admits Scotland’s surprise defeat to the USA has taught him more about his players and how they deal with adversity.
Scotland looked on course to make it two wins from two on their summer tour after building a 21-6 first-half lead in Houston.
However, the Eagles hit back superbly to down the Scots 30-29 and claim their first-ever victory over a tier one nation.
Townsend, who gave seven players their first Test starts as he made wholesale changes to the side that thrashed Canada 48-10, said the performance served as a lesson to him.
He also admitted they need to be “much better”.
Townsend said: “We wanted to learn about players on this tour, we certainly wanted to give players opportunities to play.
Summer Test - here is Scotland's team for today's match vs @USARugby - congratulations to George Horne & Matt Fagerson on their debuts. First starts too for Jamie Bhatti, Lewis Carmichael, Luke Hamilton, Adam Hastings and George Turner #AsOne— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) June 17, 2018
🇺🇸 (0-0) 🏴 #USAvSCO pic.twitter.com/x8wKuY9DrH
“Maybe we could have had more off the bench and had more experienced players but sometimes you don’t get the guys off the bench that early or get injuries elsewhere.
“We will know more about the players and how they handle adversity away from home against a team that were fired up, especially in the second half.
“It is not good news but at least we came out of here knowing that. We need to be much better.”
We will know more about the players and how they handle adversity away from home. Gregor Townsend
Converted scores from Blair Kinghorn and George Turner either side of a penalty try saw Scotland leading by 15 points just before half-time.
But the USA fought back in style to take the lead with hooker Joe Taufete’e grabbing a brace of tries, either side of the interval, and Hanco Germishuys also going over.
Dougie Fife crossed right at the end to give Scotland a glimmer of hope, but Kinghorn could not add the touchline conversion as the USA celebrated an historic victory.
This was THE moment.— USA Rugby (@USARugby) June 17, 2018
Townsend added: “We did not win some of the collisions. The hooker (Tuafete’e) got through a number of tackles, those are areas that are disappointing.
“Their key players stood out for them and gave them that confidence that they could get back in the game, they did get back into the game pretty quickly in that second half.
“Sometimes we put some really good hits in but did not complete the tackle.”
Scotland now head south to take on Argentina at the Estadio Centenario in Resistencia next Saturday.
It is the final match of their summer tour and Townsend admits they will need to improve significantly against a Pumas side wounded by back-to-back home defeats to Wales.
“It (defeat to USA) is a huge downer,” he said. “If it was the last game on tour, we would be even more disappointed but we have one more game and we have a tougher opponent who have lost two games and will be fired up.
“We will have to be much better next week but can right a lot of wrongs with a winning performance.
“We will look at how the players got on in terms of their improvement, what they were doing in training. We will look at the games – we have had almost everyone playing in the first two games.
“We strived to get wins in those games but individually we will know a lot more about the players and whether they can get back into the squad in November and whether they are realistic options for us in Japan (2019 World Cup).”