Gregor Townsend: What are Scotland coach’s key points this autumn?

Gregor Townsend: What are Scotland coach’s key points this autumn?

Duhan van der Merwe in action for Edinburgh
Duhan van der Merwe is poised to make his Scotland debut this autumn
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium Date: Friday, 23 October Kick-off: 19:30 BST
Protection: Take heed to BBC Radio Scotland; reside textual content commentary on BBC Sport web site & app

Seven months for the reason that Six Nations was prematurely halted and 4 for the reason that summer time tour was cancelled, Gregor Townsend has convened his Scotland gamers to organize for a busy autumn.

It’s exceedingly uncommon for a coach to get his paws on his enjoying group for therefore lengthy, and to have the posh of six Take a look at matches in opposition to high-calibre opposition in a single window.

Townsend will look to construct on an encouraging begin to 2020, blood new gamers, and compete with aplomb within the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup.

Listed below are the important thing points dealing with the Scotland boss within the weeks forward.

Reintegrating Russell

Townsend’s largest process is to reintegrate his most vital participant.

Finn Russell is extremely motivated to play for Scotland after an unpalatable fall-out with the coach and a world exile. The fly-half is in scintillating type for his membership aspect, Racing 92, with essentially the most assists within the European Champions Cup en path to a slim defeat in Saturday’s last.

Throughout his two years in Paris, Russell has matured as a participant and a pacesetter and eradicated a lot of the flakiness that used to blight his recreation.

He’s arguably the shape pivot in world rugby and completely important to a lot of what Scotland do.

Rebuilding their working relationship and permitting Russell to motor once more on the Take a look at stage shall be completely essential.

Away-day blues

Scotland’s heinous away document is nicely documented, and dates means past Townsend’s reign – actually, you may hint it again to the 47-year-old’s enjoying days, so lengthy has it plagued the nationwide group.

They final gained in Cardiff in 2002, in Dublin in 2010, in Paris in 1999 and at Twickenham practically 40 years in the past in 1983.

Scotland have been stable {and professional} in placing Italy away in Rome earlier this 12 months and there was one other close to miss in opposition to Eire on the Aviva Stadium.

A win in Wales in the end can be a sensational conclusion to their championship on 31 October – and it’s actually not past them.

There shall be one other journey to Italy two weeks later – a recreation Scotland shall be anticipated to win – and yet one more away day on the ultimate weekend of the Autumn Nations Cup in opposition to a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

Type the line-out

Scotland’s line-out operated at a poor success fee of solely 75% in the course of the Six Nations, profitable 42 of the 56 set-pieces by itself throw.

Terrible circumstances within the second-round loss to England didn’t assist, however this was a drastic regression from the World Cup, the place the Scottish line-out was the second finest within the match.

Danny Wilson caught round as forwards coach within the early a part of the 12 months at Scottish Rugby’s request earlier than he took cost of Glasgow, and was deeply pissed off by the drop in efficiency.

John Dalziel has now succeeded the Englishman and certainly one of his prime priorities shall be addressing this faltering space.

Unleash lethal Duhan

Duhan van der Merwe’s hotly anticipated Scotland debut is lastly nigh, with the behemoth former South Africa Underneath-20 worldwide now certified to symbolize his adopted nation by residency.

At 6ft 4ins and nicely over 100kg, Van der Merwe is a daunting bodily prospect. Scotland seldom produce wingers of his construct and dynamism.

The 25-year-old averages greater than a attempt each different recreation for Edinburgh (31 in 60 outings) and since his Pro14 debut in November 2017, no one within the competitors has scored extra tries, made extra metres and clear breaks, gained extra metres per carry or crushed extra defenders.

There are flaws in Van der Merwe’s recreation, notably round his tender abilities and positional consciousness, however he has labored arduous to deal with them and is usually a terrific addition to Scotland’s attacking arsenal.

Scotland's autumn fixtures

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