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Townsend set for talks over staying on as Scotland boss

against Italy yesterday, they still secured a bonus-point victory with Blair Kinghorn scoring a hat-trick. Earlier in the campaign, they beat England at Twickenham and Wales at BT Murrayfield with their only losses coming against France in Paris and Ireland at home.

Townsend revealed after his side’s victory that, although he doesn’t have total clarity of his future, he has already met Dodson with future talks planned.

‘I’ve had initial conversations the last couple of weeks and will be getting some time over the next few weeks to have a bigger chat about it in more depth, so we will see (if this is my last Six Nations),’ said the Scotland head coach.

‘The focus these last two weeks has been these Six Nations games but, after a few days off, I’m sure these conversations will start up again. I’ll have some reflecting and time off and discussions will start again soon.

‘Do I want to stay on? Yes, at this stage, but it’s not the time to be answering these questions when you’re just off a victory, the

crowd are behind the team and you’re connected with the players. It’s a great feeling. There are conversations that have started and they’ll start up again after some time off and we’ll see how they develop.

‘Your brain has only so much capacity on one thing and that for me is to do the best I can as the team’s coach, now. Whatever happens in the next week or two, I will be reflecting and thinking about the future when we get those discussions started again.

‘We are going to have to come to a decision and I would imagine a decision over the next few weeks. I love days like today, against Italy; even in the bad moments when you are under pressure, to be involved with your national team, there is nothing better.’

Townsend believes his team is heading in the right direction with him in charge. ‘I’m thrilled with the players that have come through, the younger players who have come through, older players like Richie Gray, players who have maybe not been involved for a while like Huw Jones,’ he said. ‘These players are playing at their best level and that’s exciting.

‘I believe the team feel they’ve got the game to take on anyone in the world, but we have to keep striving to be better. There’s a lot of areas we can improve, today and in the wider campaign. The tests are only going to get bigger in who we face in the World Cup, playing two teams in the top three in the world in Ireland and South Africa.’

The Scotland head coach (right) conceded the victory over Italy had been in the balance until Kinghorn went over for a try in the last minute but was evasive when asked about whether he agreed with full-back Stuart

Hogg, who missed the game through an ankle injury, that the scoreline flattered Scotland. ‘We can count ourselves lucky,’ said Hogg to the BBC. ‘That last try doesn’t reflect the scoreline.’

Townsend, in response to Hogg’s comments, said: ‘Do I agree with that? It could have gone the other way, absolutely. We scored four tries to one, and we were on their line on a few occasions just before half-time. It’s hard to talk in hypotheticals. We’re going to look at our game and think we could have really kicked on when we were 19-6 up, and maybe the scoreline would have been totally different if we had scored just before half-time.

‘We didn’t, Italy came back, then we scored with the last play of the game, so that’s how it ended up.’

Six Nations




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