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What Gregor Townsend told Glen Young after his yellow card clear-out

By PA
Scotland v Australia – Autumn International – BT Murrayfield Stadium

Gregor Townsend has backed the hurting Blair Kinghorn to bounce back from his costly late penalty miss in the agonising 16-15 Scotland defeat to the Dave Rennie Wallabies at BT Murrayfield. The 25-year-old Edinburgh fly-half had a chance to win a topsy-turvy autumn Test in the last moment of the game but watched in despair as his kick from 40 yards drifted just left of the posts.

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Townsend admitted it was a sore one for Kinghorn, who had scored a magnificent try earlier in the match to put the Scots in front. “For him, obviously it’s going to hurt,” said the head coach. “That’s sport. The width of a post decides whether you win or lose sometimes. He has been kicking very well for us.

“He doesn’t kick regularly at his club, but a few No10s don’t kick regularly. He will use this as a learning so that the next time he gets that chance he knows what to do technically. He can’t think about the fact it was a kick that didn’t go over in the last minute. It’s about what you learn from it. Do you need to keep the head down longer? Is it the follow-through? What technical thing do you need to work on?”

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Another key moment in the game was Scotland substitute Glen Young’s 56th-minute yellow card – following a TMO review – for catching Tate McDermott in the head while trying to clear out a ruck situation. At that point, the hosts were leading 15-6, Ollie Smith with their other try, and piling more pressure on their visitors, but Australia capitalised on having an extra man to turn the game in their favour.

“I was in the coaching box and (assistant coach) Steve Tandy said, ‘Oh, we could be in trouble here’ and I said, ‘No, it’s a world-class clearout’,” said Townsend.  “It was brilliant to see someone sprinting to get with the ball carrier.

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“In his second game for Scotland, Glen was a millimetre away from the best clearout you will see to hitting the smallest guy on the field in the head. I said to Glen, it was a world-class bit of play that became a yellow card. All our players thought they were going to the TMO because of the headshot on Duhan van der Merwe just beforehand, but that is rugby just now. It’s the risk and reward of the game.

“Glen’s was a very good clear-out but his bicep caught the Australia player in the shoulder and chin, so that is what deemed it a yellow card. It was a massive part of the game, not just because of the yellow card. We didn’t score the try from the break, but we would have had a scrum five yards from their try line.

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“So to go from having them under that pressure to having a penalty against us and a yellow card, it was a massive part in the game. We think we should have won it, but it doesn’t really matter what we think because we didn’t win. But I was proud of how the team played and delighted with how they responded when we went behind.”

Wallabies head coach Rennie was relieved to see Kinghorn’s kick drift wide as his side, with just three wins in their previous twelve matches, held on for victory thanks to a James Slipper try and eleven points from the boot of Bernard Foley. “There was a hell of a lot of noise in the crowd, I thought it was over,” said Rennie. “There must have been a lot of Aussies or a lot of drunk Scotsmen in the stands.

“We are happy to hang on. I’m proud of the effort because at 15-6 we gave up a soft one straight after half-time, but we fought our way in and got our nose in front. We can be a lot better. But there has been a lot of hard work from a lot of people and it was nice to get a result for the group.”

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