sport

Townsend backs Scots to shock

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend believes Scotland can pull of a shock Six Nations win over England at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Scott Johnson's side got their campaign off to a losing start as they were comprehensively beaten 28-6 by Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

They next face a home Calcutta Cup fixture against Stuart Lancaster's England side, who were also beaten in their opening game, 26-24 by France in Paris.

And Townsend, whose club side contributed nine of the Scots starting line-up in Ireland, thinks the Scots can pull of a surprise victory.

"All the Scotland guys will want to bounce back quickly," he said.

"We showed in the first half in Dublin that we can go up against the best teams in the Championships. It's about taking chances and sustaining that level of performance for 80 minutes.

"You don't get any bigger motivation than playing England at home and the fact both teams are coming in off a defeat means the focus will only be higher."

Hogg role

Townsend also offered some advice to Scots coach Johnson on full-back Stuart Hogg, who he feels was pushed to high up the pitch against Ireland.

"He has got such good basic skills - his passing, his kicking, his ball-carrying - but gets a lot of opportunities at full-back," he said of Hogg, who returned to the side on Saturday after a 12-month absence through injury.

You see often that full-backs are second only to fly-halves in the number of touches of the ball they get so I'm not sure you would see him any more involved than he is now.

"You see him getting up to become first or second receiver a lot of the time and that is what you want. He's playing so well at full-back right now so why would you change that?"