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Townsend: Feet on the ground despite bonus point start

Scotland head coach urged caution after slip-ups in final stages against Italy.

Scotland's difficulties in the final 15 minutes of their Six Nations victory over Italy will keep his players' feet on the ground, according to head coach Gregor Townsend.

The Scots were cruising at 33-3 before a yellow card left them short-handed and the visitors ran in three tries to take the shine off a fine display up until that point.

Asked if the players' heads could go down after their leaky end to the test, Townsend said: "Yes, but maybe it's not a bad thing.

"This was the first game of the tournament and we're playing the number two team in the world [Ireland], then going to a place we haven't won in 20 years [France in Paris] and then the number three team [Wales], and then we are going to a place where we have not won in I don't know how long [England at Twickenham].

"Feet on the ground is good for us. We have started with a solid win and five tries is a credit to the players but we know next week's challenge is huge.

"We have to get the focus right almost immediately. The players will start to absorb the game plan and what we need to do better to win next week."

Townsend confirmed Sam Skinner had rolled his ankle in a first half ruck which forced him off after just 12 minutes.

Blair Kinghorn scored a hat-trick - the first Scot to do so in the Six Nations era - with firther tries from Stuart Hogg and Chris Harris ensuring a vital bonus point.

Captain Greig Laidlaw felt the team had stepped up their levels from the autumn, where they defeated Fiji and Argentina but lost to Wales and South Africa.

Laidlaw said: "Everybody was really focused all week and I was 100% confident we were going to win today.

"We probably left a couple of tries out there and in that middle patch we really took the game away from Italy.

"Already we are turning our attentions to next week and there are probably a few learnings to take out of the game - both positive and things to improve on."

https://stv.tv/sport/rugby/1435195-match-report-scotland-v-italy/ | default

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