Townsend: Scotland 'desperate' for more success
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Scotland are "desperate" to build on the results achieved under Vern Cotter, new head coach Gregor Townsend said Monday, ahead of his first Test match against Italy.
The former Scotland playmaker, 44, who will kick off his reign in Singapore on Saturday, added that he felt no pressure coming in on the back of his predecessor's success.
"We are fortunate with a group of players we have, they work hard, they have got a lot of confidence over the last couple of seasons, and they are desperate to build on that," he told journalists.
"I am here to build on that momentum and help the team improve even further," he added.
During Cotter's three-year tenure, Scotland rose from 10th to fifth in the world rankings and progressed from a Six Nations whitewash in his maiden season to three wins out of five this year.
The New Zealander also became the first Scotland coach in the professional era to achieve a 50 percent or better win ratio, with 19 victories from 36 matches.
However, Cotter's contract was not renewed after Murrayfield chiefs decided to appoint Townsend, who is highly rated for his work in charge of Glasgow Warriors.
Townsend stressed that his appointment will not see an overhaul in tactics from the previous era.
"There will be some changes but the principles of how the team plays won't be too dissimilar," said Townsend.
"We want to see our strengths out there. The Scottish players are working hard, defending very well and playing at pace."
Scotland will look to get off Townsend's reign to a flying start against Italy, whom they hammered 29-0 in the Six Nations in March.
Azzurri head coach Conor O'Shea lauded Townsend's credentials while providing a cautious outlook on the match.
"The passion that [Townsend] has as a player and as a coach in doing his job... I am sure he will be an amazing success," said O'Shea.
"There is a big difference between us and Scotland, but there is not a massive difference. Our job is to put some pressure on them... and we will see what happens," he added.