Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend hopes his side’s historic Guinness Six Nations victory over Wales provided a welcome morale boost for rugby fans in the country.
Scotland’s 14-10 triumph in Llanelli last Saturday was their first win in Wales since 2002 and, though no supporters could make the trip due to current lockdown restrictions, Townsend admitted raising the spirits of fans watching from home was a key motivator for his charges.
“You could tell by the reaction of the players afterwards what it meant to win for their country,” Townsend said.
“We talked all week about what a boost it would give to our people. We hope it lifted people’s spirits in Scotland and Scottish fans outside the country on a Saturday afternoon.
“You see the effort that goes into games so to get the reward of a win, which has been a long time coming in Wales, was great.”
Townsend was playing on the previous occasion Scotland had left Wales with victory 18 years ago and was delighted to have masterminded an overdue change in fortunes for his side in a fixture which has proved a tough one in the time since.
“It gets a monkey off our backs,” he said.
“We hadn’t beaten any of Wales, England, France or Ireland away from home for a number of years, so to do that at least stops people talking about it.
“We were really disappointed not to play Wales in March – we had trained well that week and built momentum by beating France the week before.
“Just to have that confirmation that the players are making progress was nice.
“There are a number of things we have to improve on from the game. When you think of it in isolation, yes, we have to be better, but when you think of the history of that fixture it was great to get the win.”
Scotland’s Round 5 victory also marked the first time they have won three successive Championship matches since 1996 but it came at a cost, with injuries for fly-halves Finn Russell and Adam Hastings.
Both will sit out the upcoming Autumn Nations Cup campaign while Hastings is already a major doubt for next year’s Guinness Six Nations, which begins in February.
“Two injuries in the same position is always a blow for the individuals involved and from a team perspective,” Townsend said.
“The bad news for Finn and Adam is that they will miss the rest of our autumn campaign, so they won’t play any part in the Autumn Nations Cup, with Adam likely to miss the Six Nations as well.
“That’s a blow for both of them but I’m sure they will bounce back and use this time to work on other physical things they may need to improve.
“They are both a big part of our future.”