Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said there was still room for improvement after his side came through their Canada Test with a seven-try, 48-point performance in Edmonton.
“It was a Test match, both teams were physical,” he said after Scotland’s 48-10 win. “Canada did a lot of good things, they were dangerous when they got the ball. We were slow out of the blocks, there was a period in that first half when we did not execute as well as we had done in training.
“That is the difference between training and playing in a game, especially with a team that has never played before – some players who have never played for Scotland and some who have only got to know their teammates a few weeks ago.
“While there were some frustrations with parts of the game, it was great that we got over that. We worked hard and came away with a good win. There are a few aspects I don’t want to share where we have to improve. The USA [who they play next Saturday] seem a really good team on form. They are a team going places and will be a big threat.”
His biggest injury concern was the rib problem for hooker Fraser Brown which saw him taken to hospital for a scan. Townsend hopes it is nothing more than bruising and the player can stay with the tour.
The big plus for Townsend was the way Scotland dominated the maul with George Turner, who replaced Brown, collecting a hat-trick of tries.
“We had wanted to maul straight away – our first two line outs were mauls to work the Canadian pack and see how they would defend off the maul,” he explained.
“Also we have a good maul, we scored two tries against Italy with the maul and last year in the first game in Singapore we had two tries from the maul. There was a lot of hard work to achieve that and it can also tire the opposition forwards.
“Defensively there were some really good sets, guys getting off the line and knocking back the opposition. We maybe did not win that many turnovers or compete as hard there as we would have liked but there were a couple of occasions where the communication or focus meant we dropped off a little but defensively we were calm under pressure.”
Captain Grant Gilchrist agreed. “There’s a lot to work on, but we improved as the game went on,” the Edinburgh player said. “The bulk of the players hadn’t played for a number of weeks and we showed a bit of rust, but as a first hit-out on the tour we’re proud of the way we finished off the game.”
“There were certain aspects that were excellent and there were certain aspects that we’ll need to improve. That’s why we’re out here and we’ll get better for next week.”
For Canada, it was a question of tasking what positives they could from a losing performance.
“There was some good stuff and some young guys got an opportunity to play against a good team. The physicality and intensity was there from Scotland from start to finish and technically they were very good as well,” said Kingsley Jones, the head coach.
“We did not help ourselves, we kicked away possession when we did not need to; we needed to make those guys tackle and did not do that often enough.”