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Gregor Townsend urges Scotland to take positives from South American tour

Scotland players react after losing the decider against Argentina (Gustavo Garello/AP)
Scotland players react after losing the decider against Argentina (Gustavo Garello/AP)

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend told his players to hang on to the good feelings and progress from their South American tour after it ended with last-gasp disappointment.

Scotland were 15 points in front with half an hour left of the deciding Test against Argentina and still led when the clock hit 80 minutes.

However, Edinburgh winger Emiliano Boffelli snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for the Pumas when he crossed before kicking over to seal a 34-31 home win.

While conceding Test rugby was all about results, Townsend stressed the positives of their summer experience, with a number of younger players given opportunities amid the absence of the likes of Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell and Jamie Ritchie.

“What we have created here, we have got to make sure we save that in our minds,” Townsend said in a video on the Scottish Rugby Twitter account.

“How we got to this stage as a group off the field, I am so proud of them. They have come together, grown as a group and represented their country off the field outstandingly well.

“And shown on the field that they really care for each other. The way they defended the try line in the second Test, the way they put their bodies on the line for 80 minutes (on Saturday). These are attributes that are going to lead to success in the future.

“We will have a different group come November, we will have injuries and other players who weren’t on this tour to come back.

“We have got to make sure we are better for the experience.

“I believe we will be and some of these players who have been on this tour have a big future ahead of them.”

Duhan van der Merwe and Ewan Ashman both scored try doubles, but Argentina fought back and were given a lifeline when Scotland kicked a penalty towards the corner with 10 minutes remaining only for Jonny Gray to be held up over the try line.

Townsend said: “When you look at the 75-minute performance, let’s call it, to be able to start well in defence, to then build some phases in attack, to find our way to the try line, to score four tries over here with a new team, a young team, it was great to see them put that performance in.

“We know Argentina are an excellent side and at home they play with a lot of physicality.

“But we are about winning. Performances are something we will analyse as coaches and look to build on, but ultimately Test rugby is about winning and we didn’t find a way to win at the end when it was there for us.”

Townsend handed debuts to Glasgow full-back Ollie Smith and Edinburgh lock Glen Young.

“Ollie looked really comfortable at full-back,” he said. “He has been excellent on tour, worked really hard in training. He’s got big attributes to his game, with his ability to beat players, a strong left foot, and he showed that.

“Glen was very good when he came on – took the ball to the opposition, defended well.

“And a mention too to Ewan Ashman. A first start for his country and he scores in the corner, what a try for us, which got us ahead and we kicked on after that until the last two or three minutes.”