Scotland coach Gregor Townsend heaped praise on his players for their heroic effort in so nearly achieving a first ever win over New Zealand on Saturday evening, but was quick to stress that he expects even better in this weekend’s final autumn Tests against Australia.
The Scotland medical staff were busy yesterday assessing a number of new injury concerns which buffeted the home team in Saturday’s titanic and emotion-charged tussle, which the world champion All Blacks edged 22-17.
The Scots lost flanker Hamish Watson (back), tighthead Zander Fagerson (concussion), debutant replacement back-rower Luke Hamilton (ankle) and centre Alex Dunbar (concussion) in the course of a pulsating Test match which came so close to making history.
Updates on the injuries are expected today, with No 8 Ryan Wilson, who missed Saturday’s game due to a shoulder injury, hoped to be back in the mix for the Wallabies, who lost 30-6 to England on Saturday.
“I don’t think we’ll have as heavy a week as we had this week,” said Townsend. “The effort the players put in I don’t think many will be around on Monday.
“We know Australia better than New Zealand having played them twice in the last 12 months, including in the summer so it’ll be fresh in the memories of the players.
“We’ve got to be better next week, every game we want to take what we’ve learned and be a better team. I watched a lot of the Australia game and it was much closer than the scoreline suggested. They’ll be hurting from the defeat to England and against us in the summer.
“We’ve got arguably an even bigger challenge next week. We’ll have to be better.”