Townsend warns South Africa will be ‘huge step up’ for Scotland after Fiji rout
The Dark Blues host the Springboks next weekend.
Gregor Townsend admits Scotland will have step up their eight-try demolition job on Fiji if they are to stand any chance of halting South Africa next week.
The Scots were utterly ruthless as they blew the Pacific Islanders away 54-17 at Murrayfield.
Tommy Seymour grabbed a hat-trick as Allan Dell, Fraser Brown, Sean Maitland, Jamie Ritchie and Adam Hastings also pounced as the Dark Blues made it 10 wins from their last 11 games in the capital.
But Townsend confessed it will be an all together tougher prospect next Saturday when a Springboks side who toppled the All Blacks just two months ago arrive in Edinburgh.
He said: “To get eight tries and have the players feel that atmosphere was behind them is a huge boost going into next week.
“But the players are very aware that next week is a huge step up.
“South Africa you could argue are in the best two or three teams in the world given their recent form. They’ve beaten New Zealand once and could have done it a second time.
“They have a huge pack, one which caused England a lot of problems last week.
“We believe they are playing a level of rugby that is rival to the best teams in the world right now.”
Scotland got the breakthrough against Fiji early when Dell powered over but there was a brief moment of concern when Edinburgh’s Bill Mata and Semi Radradra hit back with a quickfire brace for the visitors.
But a forward’s onslaught saw Brown and Seymour cross to put the hosts ahead at the break and from that position of control Townsend’s team never looked back.
“I thought we played well in the first half even though we were trailing,” said the head coach. “We dominated possession, we were getting into areas we could score tries.
“The two tries we conceded were really breakaway tries, one from our mistake and one from knocking down one of their offloads and they get the ball back.
“It was pleasing that we just kept on going. We believe in our fitness, we believe in the game that we play, that if we get it right we’ll put teams under pressure and that was the case today.”
Seymour grabbed the headlines with his treble as he ended his 18-month international drought and Townsend was full of praise for the Glasgow wing.
“Tommy had a really tough year last year and to see him back in full form, full confidence and enjoying his rugby again at Glasgow and getting that transferring to Scotland was great,” he said.
And the head coach was pleased to see Exeter’s former England Under-20s lock Sam Skinner slot so effectively into the second row that he was named man of the match.
He added: “Sam was very good. He was prominent, he looked to play rugby, a couple of nice offloads. There was even a kick in there – I’m not sure we’ve seen that in his games for Exeter.
“It was great to see Sam doing a job in the tight and playing so well in the loose.”
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