Scotland need to get mentally stronger - Russell

rugby16 March 2024 21:34| © Reuters
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Finn Russell © Gallo Images

Scotland must get mentally stronger to turn intermittently brilliant form into more wins, captain Finn Russell said after his team ended their Six Nations campaign with more defeats than victories following Saturday's 17-13 loss to Ireland.

Russell and coach Gregor Townsend praised Scotland's defence as they made favourites Ireland work to clinch their second successive Six Nations title but also had regrets over a campaign that promised more.

"That mentality we had today, especially in defence was brilliant but throughout the campaign we need to get mentally stronger, we need to get better and put in performances week in week out," Russell told a news conference.

"We've had spells in this competition where we've been brilliant but at the same time we've had spells where we've allowed teams to get on the front foot. We are progressing and only winning two games is tough."

Townsend said Scotland were closer to being genuine contenders for a Six Nations title, having had chances to win all five games, with all three defeats being within one score.

He acknowledged they had underperformed in last weekend's 31-29 loss to Italy and again lamented a late controversial Television Match Official call that cost them a victory over France.

"Two wins, it's not what we set out to do and not what we believe this team are capable of but today was a really good end to the championship in terms of the performance," Townsend said.

"I think the evidence is there. We're still searching like any team to back up performances. It is difficult in the Six Nations and in particular this Six Nations with the quality of the teams we're up against. If you don't get your performance spot on, you will be really challenged to win that game.

"That is the reality and we have to be at our very best every time we play."