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'When we build up emotions too high maybe the accuracy isn't there'

By Paul Smith
Gregor Townsend /Getty

The lone piper on the roof of Murrayfield. The unaccompanied second verse of Flower of Scotland. The 1990 David Sole inspired march on to the pitch.

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Emotion has never been far below the surface when Scotland face the auld enemy for the Calcutta Cup and for the majority of onlookers channeling their inner Braveheart has never done the men in blue much harm.

However, five days ahead of the 2022 Six Nations opener, head coach Gregor Townsend has gone in an entirely different direction by calling on his team to remain calm and lessen the emotional side of their match day preparation.

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Speaking to BBC Scotland the 48-year-old former British & Irish Lions fly half said: “I’ve learned through experience that, when we have built up emotions too high, maybe the accuracy hasn’t been there, so I’m sure we won’t be building it up that much.”

“Having an opening game as big as the Calcutta Cup will certainly focus our minds and being at home should help.

“If it brings out the best in us then that’s brilliant, but England will be a handful as they were excellent in the autumn and they know we beat them in the opening game last year, so they will be fired up from the start.”

Townsend also declined to get involved in a war of words with England boss Eddie Jones who typically has attempted to deflect attention away from his players in the run-up to the Six Nations opener.

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Perhaps mindful that England have only beaten Scotland once in the last four meetings, the veteran Aussie has been quoted as saying “we’re going up there to get them.”

“It’s good to hear they will be competitive – that’s what we want,” was Townsend’s considered straight bat response.

Based on Autumn Series results when everyone other than Italy claimed a big Southern Hemisphere scalp, Scotland’s head coach went on to agree with a host of former players and pundits who believe the 2022 Six Nations will be the most competitive for many years.

“The form of the northern hemisphere teams has been there now for a number of years and the November Tests confirmed that with Ireland beating New Zealand, England beating South Africa and Australia and Wales beating Australia,” he said.

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“But that becomes irrelevant coming into the Six Nations, although it’s great that our tournament has some of the leading teams in the world in it because it wasn’t always the case 20 years ago.”

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Tim 2 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

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