Gregor Townsend impressed as Scotland bounce back to down Italy

Gregor Townsend watched his Scotland side overcome a valiant Italy in Rome

Gregor Townsend praised Scotland Rugby for the way they bounced back to winning ways against Italy Rugby in the Six Nations encounter in Rome.

The Scots recorded a bonus-point 33-22 win at Stadio Olimpico, although two tries for the hosts in the closing 14 minutes – including one after the 80-minute mark – took some of the gloss off the scoreline for the visitors.

Nonetheless, head coach Townsend was pleased with the way his team played after back-to-back defeats against Wales and France in their previous two matches.

“I’m delighted for the players to get a win away from home and to see the rewards of a really productive week,” he said. “To get to the final quarter with a good lead on the scoreboard, I expected us to kick on even more after that so credit to Italy for the way they played the final quarter.

“It was really important to win, though. This tournament is about winning but you’ve also got to learn at times. We learned from the France game and I felt that was reflected in how we managed the game.

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“Our key decision-makers controlled things really well. That was pleasing. The effort was there but the frustrating element was in that final quarter when we didn’t play as well as we had in the previous three quarters.”

Ali Price produced a man-of-the-match performance as he won his 50th cap. The Glasgow scrum half was heavily involved in four of his team’s tries and unfortunate not to get one himself.

“Ali was inspired,” said Townsend. “He was winning his 50th cap and he got his hands on the ball. It was great to see him play so well on such a big day for him.”

Chris Harris scored two tries in the victory

And captain Stuart Hogg echoed his head coach’s sentiments as he felt Scotland played well overall.

“We wanted to come out here and give a true reflection of ourselves and make sure we gave a professional performance,” he said. “For large parts of that game we did exactly that but unfortunately we had a lapse in concentration every now and then that resulted in Italy scoring points, which we’re quite frustrated about.

“But on the whole, it was pleasing to come away with a victory.”

This tournament is about winning but you’ve also got to learn at times. We learned from the France game

By contrast, Italy head coach Kieran Crowley felt his team were poor defensively as they were consigned to the wooden spoon once more.

“Defence was the area that let us down,” he said. “In our last two games we’ve defended very well but we missed too many one-on-one tackles today.

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“On the other side, I thought our attack was a lot better today, but you’ve got to get a combination of attack and defence.

“Our defence let us down particularly in the first half, and in the first 20 minutes of the second half Scotland suffocated us a little bit but I’m very pleased with the way we bounced back later in the game.”

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