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Townsend: Work for Scotland to do despite Tonga victory

Ten tries but plenty to work on with the Wallabies next up, according to the head coach.

Townsend: Work for Scotland to do despite Tonga victory SNS Group

Scotland have work to do to get ready for the challenge of Australia according to head coach Gregor Townsend.

Scotland demolished Tonga 60-14 at Murrayfield but Townsend was quick to point to areas where they need to improve when Dave Rennie’s Wallabies call next Sunday.

While the attack clicked and there were impressive performances from wingers Kyle Steyn and Rufus McLean in particular, Townsend is looking for more from his team in defence and in their discipline.

The Scotland head coach said: “We aim to play at real speed and we did that for the first half.

“I think Tonga played really well. We didn’t know what to expect but when they had the ball they caused us problems.

“There was a sticky period in the second half which we got through okay – losing a man to the sin bin, we had to make some changes and put a forward in the backs for the last 20 minutes – but to finish strongly was pleasing.

“Defensively we will have to be at our very best [against Australia] – they have shown what a good attacking side they are and they are full of confidence having won five test matches in a row.

“We set very high standards in our defence we know that today wasn’t at those standards.

“It wasn’t good enough today how many penalies we gave away at the breakdown area and offsides so that will have to be better next week.”

Glasgow Warriors winger Kyle Steyn grabbed the headlines by scoring four tries – the first Scotsman to do so in a test match at Murrayfield.

Steyn was winning only his second cap after making his debut in the Six Nations match before the Covid shutdown of sport, and has since battled a serious hamstring injury which ruled him out for months.

Townsend said: “Kyle was involved the last time we had crowds here against France in 2020, he did really well and was due to be on the bench the following week as we headed to Cardiff.

“Due to injury he has never had the opportunity to get that second cap so to be able to start and play well and make a try scoring record is brilliant.

“He is a great guy to have in the squad, he works really hard and he has come through soem adversity to play for Scotland again.”

Competition for the two places on the wing will be fierce when Australia visit, with Stuart Hogg returning at full back and British and Irish Lion Duhan van der Merwe back in scoring form with his club.

Asked if Steyn’s exploits against Tonga would make him hard to drop, Townsend said: “There are a few players have put their hand up for selection.

“Maybe people look at whether you score tries as a key element for selection but we look at a number of other things too.

“I thought both wingers were very, very good. Rufus scored two early tries, Kyle got four in the end and both contributed well in kick chase.

“We had a winger [Darcy Graham] who started our last match in Paris, at full back as well so it is great to have three wingers pushing for places.

“We will have Duhan back who got two tries for Worcester today so there is real strength in depth in that position, and a number of other positions.”