SCOTLAND head coach Gregor Townsend has ranked last week’s Calcutta Cup victory as a seven out of 10 performance and has insisted that his players have insulated themselves from the hype which has been stirred up by that result.
Momentum may be with Townsend’s side ahead of tomorrow’s clash against a Wales outfit who lost heavily to Ireland in their opening match of this Six Nations campaign, but Townsend demonstrated that he was not fully satisfied with his team’s performance by making four tactical changes to the starting XV for the trip to Cardiff.
“We know we could have played much better than our performance last week,” he said. “It was a great occasion and a very good win and there were some elements of that win that were very encouraging, like our resilience, our effort and our ability to find a way to win.
“But there was a lot that didn’t go as well as we know we’re capable of. The focus is on us getting better. Our players have talked this week about not reading all the positive comments this week and suddenly thinking we’ve cracked it.
“We know how much effort went into last week’s game and it was still a seven out of 10 performance. We’ve got to be delivering eight and nine out of 10s if we’re going to win games like we’re facing this weekend.”
It is all change up-front for the Scots with Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally and WP Nel being named as the starting front-row, while Rory Sutherland, George Turner and Zander Fagerson drop to the bench.
Meanwhile, Sione Tuipulotu is preferred to Sam Johnson at inside-centre, with Cam Redpath and uncapped Rory Darge being added to the bench.
There is also an enforced change with Sam Skinner taking over at blind0side flanker from Jamie Ritchie, who has undergone surgery on a ruptured hamstring and is expected to be out for the rest of the season.