SINGAPORE, June 10 (Reuters) - Scotland coach Gregor Townsend was delighted to get off to a winning start with a comprehensive 34-13 victory over Italy in Singapore on Saturday but is aware his side still have plenty of room for improvement.
Playing a quick brand of attacking rugby, the Scots wore down a resolute but inexperienced Italian team in the first game of their June tour as the Southeast Asian nation hosted a Tier One test match for the first time.
“To win is important but obviously as a coach we still have plenty to work on,” Townsend, who cut his coaching teeth with the Glasgow Warriors, told reporters as he looked forward to trips to Australia and Fiji over the next two weeks.
“We came out with a win and that’s what we work for but there’s room for improvement next week and we are already thinking about how we can get better.”
Despite dominating for most of the opening half, Scotland were unable to shake off their stubborn opponents until they scored two brilliant quick-fire tries through scrumhalf Ali Price and winger Tim Visser shortly before the break.
“We believe the kind of open rugby we play, they are not used to playing with the speed of ball. So it was great to get those scores then,” the 44-year-old former Scotland international added.
”If we had gone in at 3-3 they would have had a lot of confidence but the tries gave us a boost and really set us up for the second half.
“Italy are a tough opponent and the rugby they play takes a lot out of the forwards, but you have to keep working at it because there will be times in the game when opportunities will be made.”
Townsend also admitted that asking a new group of players to implement his game plan will take time but was full of praise for their first outing under his guidance.
“I always thought it would be difficult to put in the type of rugby we have been doing in training because of the conditions and also because it’s the first game together,” he added.
“The opening five minutes was excellent and the players kept on believing in what they were doing. Even though Italy came back into the game, we worked hard to get those two tries just before halftime.” (Editing by Ed Osmond)