Townsend calls on Scotland to deliver perfect start
The head coach says the team has to take advantage of home Six Nations matches.
Gregor Townsend says Scotland have to make the most of Murrayfield to get off to a strong start in the Six Nations.
The Scotland head coach named his 39-man squad for the championships on Wednesday and looked ahead to a fixture list that pits his team against Italy and Ireland in the opening two rounds, with both matches at the national stadium.
Scotland won both their home matches in front of a packed Murrayfield last year and Townsend says a repeat would put his team on a firm footing as they look to make progress.
"Six Nations is about momentum, you've got to do well in the first round of games," he said.
"So those two games, to obviously have a chance of winning the tournament but also to give the players confidence to go into that third game knowing that you've still got a realistic opportunity of picking up the trophy.
"To have both games at home is an advantage on paper. We love playing at home, the crowd have been fantastic, the fact there's no travel between our first two games is a boost.
"But we are going to make sure we grab the opportunity to deliver what we believe we are capable of, which is two victories in our first two games."
With the vast majority of his pool of players drawn from Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh, Townsend stressed the importance of both teams playing in important matches over the past few months, with an emphasis on European competition.
He said that the level of test was the perfect preparation for the trials of international rugby and that matches against French club sides could give the players an edge for what could be a crucial match against France in Paris.
"The bridge between November tests and Six Nations is great for club rugby and great for preparation for the Six Nations," he said.
"You go into four Champions Cup games and for our players that are playing in Edinburgh and playing in Scotland they play two 1872 Cup games, big derby games.
"That's six games of high quality, high level, high intensity and our players that have been selected, especially Edinburgh and Glasgow, have came through that period playing really well.
"Winning in France is a huge boost. Glasgow have done that and now Edinburgh have done that so that'll give them confidence when we go to Paris later in the tournament.
"They'll have the knowledge that they can take on the best teams in Europe and find a way to win.
"We are all looking forward to this weekend as well. It's a huge game for Edinburgh, playing a strong side in Montpellier that have to come here and win, and then the following day you've got one of the best teams in Europe taking on Glasgow.
"My first hope is everybody gets through fit, no injuries, but also that we see how our players play against top teams in Europe with something at stake."