Scotland 'deserves more than fourth place'
SPOTLIGHT: Gregor Townsend says Scotland have proved they can be serious contenders for international titles after adding France to their list of away conquests in the Six Nations.
Scotland have ended long waits for away wins over Wales, England and now France in their games on the road in the 2020 and 2021 editions of the northern hemisphere tournament.
Friday’s 27-23 victory in Paris for 14-man Scotland came against a home side looking to win the championship.
Another four points in the match would have moved Scotland up to second place and Townsend feels they are now in a position to threaten at the top end of the table in future years.
“Stuart [Hogg, the captain] spoke in the huddle after the game and again last night [Friday] that this has to be more than just the start of the journey of what this team can achieve,” said the coach.
“We play this wonderful tournament every year and we have a World Cup in two years in the same stadium we played on Friday.
“Performances like that will give them confidence, winning against England will give them confidence to take on any team we face.”
Scotland were denied several English-based players including Sean Maitland and looked down and out when Finn Russell was sent off with 10 minutes left.
But France were also reduced to 14 men when Baptiste Serin was yellow-carded and Duhan van der Merwe scored a last-gasp winner following relentless pressure.
“I think the character they showed to come back from behind to win when we’re a man down, I know they got a yellow card but to get that response when we had a red card, was superb,” Townsend said.
“And obviously just to win here in a stadium [in which] we have only won once before. It showed this team will keep trying and even though we have had two defeats this year in all our games we have shown that same spirit.”
Townsend, whose side lost by a point against Wales and by three against Ireland, added: “We are delighted but disappointed that it’s not better than fourth place.
“The effort they put in here in the last game and the first game [against England] in particular, I feel deserves more than fourth place.”