REACTION | Townsend: "It was a great feeling to get the win."

After witnessing his side overturn an early ten-point deficit to record a NatWest 6 Nations campaign igniting victory over France, Head Coach Gregor Townsend was full of praise for his players, describing their efforts as ‘outstanding’.

“It was really satisfying for our players; they put in a huge effort into today’s game,” explained Townsend. “If you come out at the wrong end of the scoreboard, it can be very disappointing – especially when you’re at home.

“We ground out that win, especially in the last 20 minutes. And to just get ahead and stay ahead; it was a great feeling to get the win.

“For us to be able to bounce back – not just after last week - but to bounce back after a few setbacks this afternoon was brilliant.

“To be ten nil down against a team that looked full of confidence; to then concede another try and still stick at what we’re doing; to work out what was going well and when to adapt, and to put in that effort in that last 20 minutes – that was outstanding.”

Although Scotland controlled much of the second-half behind the stellar boot of Laidlaw, France were a force to be reckoned with during the first period and at times looked a step ahead – which Townsend duly noted.

“France are an excellent defensive team,” said the Head Coach. “I thought they showed in that first half just how impressive a defensive and attacking team they are. They’re a really good side. And rightly we were trailing in the first half, because they scored a couple of cracking tries.”

After falling behind to a well worked try from Teddy Thomas, Scotland shot back into the match via Huw Jones direct score – and Townsend acknowledged the centre’s impressive afternoon, which saw him score his eighth try in 13 games.

“I thought Huw [Jones] played his best game for us in a while. I thought he played really well in November, and today he took it up another couple of levels.

“He was looking to get on the ball; he was strong in the contact area and obviously had a brilliant finish for his try. We know the strengths of our team across the XV, but we want to see players like Stuart [Hogg] – who I thought had an excellent game; the back three and Huw getting on the ball as much as possible.”

Townsend also paid tribute to Laidlaw – who on the day maintained a 100 per cent kicking record, notching 22 points in total – and his troupe of experienced players.

“Greig played well. You probably don’t pick up a lot of what he does outside his passing and his kicking, and that’s managing the team. He came in at points when we’ve conceded tries to help out John [Barclay].

“I thought Greig and Ryan Wilson had an influence on the team in the way they responded to errors.”

With the first 2018 NatWest 6 Nations victory in the books, Scotland’s focus now moves to England, whom Townsend and his squad host at BT Murrayfield in two-week’s time.

“It’s good now that we get to play for trophies right throughout the season. That was one today and there’s going to be another up for stake in two weeks-time. And that’s going to be a huge challenge with who we’re playing.

“England are arguably the best team in the world over the last two years, given the mount of games they’ve won, and they’re a team who’re very consistent and very tough to beat, and we’re going to have to give her best game. We have to really put them under pressure for 80 minutes and we’ll see what happens after that.”