Gregor Townsend wants his team to ‘fight fire with fire’

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Gregor Townsend wants his team to 'fight fire with fire'


GREGOR TOWNSEND believes that Scotland’s Six Nations form over the past two seasons has demonstrated that his team can now compete against the best teams in the world, and he will ask his players to ‘fight fire with fire’ in order to kill the title of France. challenge if Paris on Friday night.
Scotland need to beat France by five points and also match the number of bonus points their opponents have obtained to finish second in the table, which would be a highlight in the Six Nations era. It’s a big challenge against a fit France team looking to win by 21 points and score four tries to finish at the top of the table for the first time since 2010.

The odds are against Townsend’s team. Last week’s spectacular victory over Wales lifted France to third in the world rankings, while Scotland currently languishes in ninth place. Bookies are giving Scotland a 16-point start in a venue they haven’t won since 1999. However, the coach insists his team aren’t there to just do the numbers.


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“Fighting fire with fire, I think that’s what we have to do, whether it’s a physical battle or a game that gets the ball moving,” he said. “If you move the ball more you are going to create more chances, but there are also more chances to make mistakes, so if France moves the ball then we have to make sure that we force mistakes on them.

“And if they continue what they’ve been doing, which is a really patient game, we have to be smart as well. We will be happy that they play anyway. If it’s more kicking we have more decisions to make around the counterattack and if that moves the ball off we are backing up our defense to force some mistakes.

“In their last two matches, the opposition really tested France with the ball in hand,” he added. “England played very good offensive rugby, and so did Wales and were 10 points ahead with 12 minutes to go, so it shows that teams can cause them problems, but we have also seen that some of the tries they scored against England and Wales were exceptional.

“The fact that they won away against Ireland, which is a very good team, shows that they are a quality team. They’ve been very consistent over the past 12 months and they have all of their players available. When we were supposed to play them a few weeks ago, Fallen farmers was not available and maybe Bernard Le Roux was also injured. Now they have a lot of players playing at the highest level of the game, so this is a situation where you want to be as an opposition – you want to go up against the best players and see how you team up.

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Scotland’s record in their two Six Nations campaigns since the 2019 World Cup flop is five wins and four losses, with none of those losses over seven points (the average loss margin is 4, 5 points). They may not have made it as a winning team yet, but there is no doubt that they have become more competitive in all areas, which gives Townsend the belief that they can make it one. match tomorrow night.

“We obviously want to turn those narrow losses into wins, and we’re very disappointed that we didn’t do that against Wales, and maybe our performance didn’t deserve it against Ireland, but the players know that ‘they can stay in the fight and they can create opportunities to win matches, so they have to be confident in their own abilities, ”he explained.

“But they understand it’s a huge challenge. France with this goal of having to get four tries and winning by 21 points means they could play their best rugby we’ve seen, so we have to be ready for that. Our challenge is to make sure they don’t reach that score. ”

Townsend was keen to focus on the positive aspects of Scotland by getting five players released by English clubs for this game, but admitted that it was far from ideal that he did not have a free hand for select the best possible team, with Sean Maitland the most obvious absent.

“Look, it’s a lot more satisfying than I thought it would be on Saturday when none of our players were going to be available and we were making a more home team. Finn RussellHe reasoned. “So, yes, it’s a much better situation than then. And I’m glad we got a resolution that the players would be available. Not all of them, as you can probably tell, but most of them.

“The group is really disappointed for those who could not be selected this week, but like the players who are injured, you go with the group which is here and which we will take to France. We will work together to deliver the best rugby possible. ”

There is no doubt that Scottish rugby found itself in a difficult position, and boycotting the game was not much of an option, but the fact that they put their name on the press release released on Saturday night claiming that ” An agreement has been made with Premiership Rugby for the release of the Scottish players’ without explaining the true nature of the compromise, and then did not clarify the situation when they announced their training squad on Monday noon, made them appear accomplices of this poor quality pact.

We have to assume that the President of Scottish Rugby John Jeffrey, who is also Chairman of Six Nations Council, and Managing Director of Scottish Rugby Mark Dodson, who sits on the Six Nations Council, lobbied for a more comprehensive deal, but was unable to win the argument.


France v Scotland: Harris, Russell, Price and Turner return for a trip to Paris



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