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Townsend: 'Room for improvement' despite Samoa win

Scotland head coach kicked off his first full season in charge with a 44-38 win at Murrayfield.

Rugby: Scotland's Stuart McInally celebrates after scoring a try during the Autumn International at
Rugby: Scotland's Stuart McInally celebrates after scoring a try during the Autumn International at PA

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend admitted there was plenty of room for improvement despite seeing his side claim a 44-38 win over Samoa.

Townsend kicked off his first full international season in charge with an 11-try thriller at Murrayfield, but his side were unconvincing in victory.

Stuart Hogg scored an early try to get the capacity Edinburgh crowd bouncing, but it was a struggle from thereon in and after opening up a 32-10 lead, they were pegged back as Samoa capitalised on a shaky defence to close the gap.

Pete Horne's late dart eventually put the Dark Blues out of reach after an earlier brace from man of the match Stuart McInally, but Townsend was confident his side would improve ahead of their meeting with New Zealand next week.

He admitted: "We knew that would be the case.

"It is the first time this team has played together.

"The opposition are going to force you into errors because they are excellent players, and we know on all aspects of the game we have to be better and we know that going into next week.

"There are a couple of areas that we will definitely have to be better to take on what is currently the best team in the world."

He added: "I think we knew from both attack and defence that it wasn't going to be perfect today.

"We've won the game, we'll move on.

"I think our players' focus will be even more increased going into next week.

"We realise we're playing against a really good attacking team next week and there are a few things we have to get better."

'The opposition are going to force you into errors because they are excellent players, and we know on all aspects of the game we have to be better and we know that going into next week.'
Gregor Townsend

The defence will be of huge concern for Townsend, with the visitors seeming to score with every visit of their 22 in the second half.

The former Glasgow coach, who took over for the summer tour, accepted his side were not good enough at times in the second half.

He said: "We weren't able to slow down their ball enough in the second half, I thought we did that well in the first half, when we got a few turnovers to play off, but in the second half they were getting momentum.

"Part of defence is also where we were defending.

"So if we do give away possession in our 22, it is hard to defend and the consequences are much greater.

"We didn't handle a couple of restarts and that just gave them a footing in our 22 and they came away with tries on every occasion in the second half."

Samoan second row Chris Vui was proud of his side's performance despite falling short.

Tim Nanai-Williams starred with 18 points - including a well-taken try - but Vui took positives from the performance in what has been a difficult week after Samoan rugby was declared bankrupt.

He said: "I felt like even though the result didn't go our way, it almost put us back on the map.

"We're a really proud country and we're here to play rugby.

"I thought we showed that."

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