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Scotland coach Gregor Townsend inspired by Pep Guardiola’s philosophy

Townsend spent a day with Manchester City in December.

Gregor Townsend lifted the lid on his meeting with Pep Guardiola as he put the finishing touches on Scotland’s bid for NatWest 6 Nations glory.

Scotland head coach Townsend spent a day with Manchester City in December to run the rule over the coaching style of the Premier League’s top boss.

Now he hopes to implement some of Guardiola’s philosophy when the Scots open their campaign against Wales at the Principality Stadium next Saturday.

“The biggest thing about meeting Pep was seeing a coach so passionate about the details of coaching,” said Townsend.

“It’s about how to bring the best out of players, not tactics and the bigger picture, more about the details of how he gets his game over. He was so excited about it.

“He talked a lot about rugby as well, he loves rugby, and how you have to look forward because we pass the ball back. That’s a great philosophy that he feels applies to football.

“He didn’t say who he would be supporting, but he did get a signed Scotland jersey. He was pleased with that so hopefully he’ll have one eye on Scotland.”

Scotland have not won the title since 1999, the year before Italy joined what was previously the Five Nations.

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Scotland v Australia – Autumn International – Murrayfield Stadium

But their form in the autumn, with a win over Samoa, a narrow defeat by New Zealand and a record-breaking victory over Australia, has raised expectations of a potential first Six Nations success.

“It’s quite good, no one can take away from us winning the last ever Five Nations,” Townsend said.

“But it shows what a tough competition it is, the last three winners have been Wales, Ireland and England.

“When I played, the teams dominating were England and France, and whoever sneaked in in third had a chance. Now you have five teams in that mix. It’s a very competitive and high-quality tournament.

“It was a very good year for us, 2017. Three wins in the Six Nations followed by Australia in the summer and in November, and a good performance in New Zealand.

“It was a good year to generate that optimism and that buzz for the game, and now in 2018 we have to build on that and get better.”

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