Authors: Rio Sports
Gregor Townsend admitted there was plenty of room for improvement despite beating Samoa. The Scotland coach kicked off his first full international season in charge with an 11-try thriller but his side were unconvincing.
Stuart Hogg scored an early try to get the capacity Edinburgh crowd bouncing but it was a struggle from then on and after opening up a 32-10 lead they were pegged back when Samoa capitalised on a shaky defence to close the gap. Pete Horne’s late dart put Scotland out of reach after two tries from the man of the match Stuart McInally but Townsend was confident there will be improvements before the Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
“We knew that would be the case,” he said. “It is the first time this team has played together. The opposition are going to force you into errors because they are excellent players, and we know on all aspects we have to be better and we know that going into next week. There are a couple of areas that will definitely have to be better to take on what is the best team in the world.”
He added: “I think we knew from both attack and defence that it wasn’t going to be perfect today. We’ve won the game, we’ll move on. I think our players’ focus will be even more increased going into next week. We realise we’re playing against a really good attacking team.”
The defence will be of huge concern for Townsend, with Samoa seeming to score with every visit to the 22 in the second half. The former Glasgow coach, who took over for the summer tour, accepted Scotland were not good enough at times.
He said: “We weren’t able to slow down their ball enough in the second half, I thought we did that well in the first half, when we got a few turnovers to play off, but in the second half they were getting momentum.
“Part of defence is also where we were defending. So if we do give away possession in our 22, it is hard to defend and the consequences are much greater. We didn’t handle a couple of restarts and that just gave them a footing in our 22.”
The Samoa second-row Chris Vui was proud of his side’s performance despite falling short. Tim Nanai-Williams was outstanding with 18 points – including a well-taken try – but Vui took positives from the match in what has been a difficult week after Samoan rugby was declared bankrupt.
“I felt like even though the result didn’t go our way, it almost put us back on the map,” he said. “We’re a really proud country and we’re here to play rugby. I thought we showed that.”
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