Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend: We have to find solutions
Scotland’s defeat against Wales in Cardiff means they have won just six out of 46 away games since the Six Nations started 18 years ago.
Gregor Townsend has underlined a need to make Scotland’s supporters proud after suffering another chronic case of Six Nations away-day blues.
Scotland’s 34-7 defeat against Wales in Cardiff means they have won just six of 46 away games since the tournament began in 2000 – and four of those victories were over annual strugglers Italy.
The Scots head to Dublin and Rome next month, but their immediate Six Nations agenda features Murrayfield appointments with France and England as they look to recapture impressive autumn form that saw Australia crushed by a record margin and world champions New Zealand run close.
“We don’t have a great away record – we are not getting away from that,” Scotland head coach Townsend said.
“I read the stats in the Six Nations, and we have to be better.
“We have to realise that teams will have moments when they are doing well, the crowd is behind them and they maybe score a try. We have got to handle that and be better.
“We have to find solutions as we go to Dublin and Rome, two very tough places to win.
“But our focus over the next two games is playing at home and making sure we put a performance in that makes our supporters proud. If that gets us wins, then that is brilliant, but we have got to make sure we perform much better first of all.”
The optimism generated by Scotland’s autumn campaign spluttered to a halt as rampant Wales ran in four tries and claimed a second-biggest victory since the countries’ first meeting 135 years ago.
For 79 minutes, Scotland were also looking at a first scoreless game against Wales for 44 years, but substitute Peter Horne’s try spared that embarrassment.
“I felt there was real determination from the players in the second-half to go out and show who we were, but to be caught in our 22, playing phases that weren’t really on, and then to come away three points further down was disappointing for everyone,” Townsend added.
“You just want to show some response to that in the second-half, whether it is through actions or three points or seven points, but the momentum kept on with Wales. From that, they got more and more confident.
“There was plenty of time in the game to score tries (in the second-half) and I don’t think our errors in the first half was about us forcing it.
“They were either passing decisions that put players in difficult positions, or some of the set-piece and lineout didn’t function as well as we know it can. We just couldn’t get that pressure on the opposition defence by holding on to ball and making them make tackles or, more importantly, making them miss tackles.
“It is frustrating for us all.
“We have seen the players execute under pressure in training and execute in games previous, so when just that little bit of accuracy is out at this level it means you will have to defend for a number of phases or your momentum is stalled, and it was stalled too often (against Wales).
“It was not a true representation of how we play in attack and how accurate we can be and how good these players can be.
“We probably found as many gaps in the defence today as we would in the first 20 minutes of those games in November. It was just we were not accurate enough in our passing and our decision-making and to really hit home that advantage.”