Gregor Townsend believes Scotland’s stunning Guinness Six Nations triumph over England at Twickenham is up there with the best ever result in their history.
Scotland had not won at Red Rose HQ since 1983 but they ended their 38-year wait for a victory on English soil with a shock 11-6 win over the defending champions.
Returning fly-half Finn Russell gave Scotland the lead with a penalty before Duhan van der Merwe scored a try to put the away side 8-6 ahead at the half-time break.
And another Russell penalty after a ten-minute spell in the sin-bin proved enough to end Scotland’s Twickenham drought as Townsend hailed his players for a handling the tricky conditions.
“I’m very aware of the history and I’ve come here as a player and a coach and not come away with anything so it’s got to be up there with our best ever result in our history,” he said at the post-match press conference.
“It’s certainly [the best] in my playing and coaching career. I still go back to three years ago at BT Murrayfield just because of the crowd, the atmosphere and the way the players played.
“Today they were outstanding too in really tricky conditions. I don’t know if that came out on the television but it was wet the whole game and really heavy rain in the second half.
Scotland secure historic Twickenham victory
“To win in these conditions, against very good side with the record they have here is a fantastic achievement for this group of players.”
Owen Farrell kicked two penalties for the hosts but Scotland rarely looked flustered from the first whistle in the 150th anniversary of the first time the two sides played each other.
Skipper Stuart Hogg was named Guinness Player of the Match, but Townsend was full of praise for every single one of his men, especially those leading the attack and defence.
“It was [a composed performance] and there wasn’t just one way of playing,” he said. “There was a lot of variety in how we played and that was working out where we were having success.
“Where maybe the opposition weren’t going as well and being accurate. There were leaders right throughout that team, if you look at Finn [Russell] in the attack and the leaders alongside him.
“Stuart [Hogg] at 15, Ali [Price] inside him and the defensive side, Chris Harris and Jamie Ritchie in charge of that, and then in the lineout I thought Scott Cummings had a fantastic game.
“Against maybe the best lineout in the world, the calling was really good and we put a lot of pressure on their lineout and stole a couple too – didn’t give them quality ball.
“It gives us a lot of encouragement, not just the result today but the way the players stepped up and controlled the performance.”
Cameron Redpath, the son of former Scotland captain Bryan, also enjoyed a superb international debut and Townsend said the 21-year-old continues to surprise him.
“I thought it was an incredible debut,” he said. “To come into a squad you’ve not training with before, meet players for the first time and then integrate with our way of playing.
Hogg pays tribute to “amazing” Scotland after Twickenham win
“To get used to those players, we saw his skillset, his confidence, his maturity, we’ve seen that in games with Bath and we’ve seen that in training.
“But you don’t expect someone on their debut to have such an accomplished start when you’re new into the team, especially against England at a place we’ve not won for so long.
“He was excellent. He got on the ball a lot in the first half which I think helped him and he did well when he got on ball, some really good carries, some really good passes.
“And then he secured an excellent jackal penalty for us in the second half so he showed his competitiveness, he showed his skill and it’s really exciting what he can achieve in his career and what we can do with him over the next few years.”
Scotland captain Hogg said: “It means a huge deal to us all. I think during the week we kind of looked at if we got everything right both sides of the ball we would have every opportunity of coming down here and winning and we did exactly that.
“I thought we had a clinical edge in our attack and defensively we fronted up. Every time England were attacking we stood firm and had a lot of dominant collisions so I’m incredibly proud of the boys’ efforts and now we get excited about the next challenge.
“I was just incredibly proud of the boys. During the week, we believed as individuals and we believed as a collective that we could come down here and win and we kept that to ourselves.
“I felt we were calm and in control of the whole game, Finn [Russell] and Ali [Price] drove us around the field really well, Jamie [Ritchie] and the rest of the defensive boys worked incredibly hard for us.
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“I think you put it down to a huge squad effort. We’ve had 30-odd boys in this camp over the last couple of weeks and we’ve enjoyed each other’s company. We’ve worked hard on the training field and believed in each other and that’s the reason we’re in that position.
“We’ll enjoy this but come Monday we’ll get back on the horse and ready to go because next week is another challenge for us and one we’re really excited about.”