Townsend praise for Kinghorn as he considers his own future
EDINBURGH, March 18 (Reuters) - Blair Kinghorn’s strong running game and confidence to take on the defence led to his hat-trick of tries against Italy in Saturday’s 26-14 Six Nations victory at Murrayfield, coach Gregor Townsend said.
Kinghorn started at flyhalf in the absence of the injured Finn Russell and impressed with the scraps of possession he had, scoring his third try in the final seconds as Scotland went the length of the field to secure a nervous victory.
"He did really well," Townsend told BBC One. "Blair's got a strong running game, so when he's got chances to take on the defence, we encourage him to do that.
"We didn't have much ball for him to work with in the backline, but there was a lot of glimpses there that we had Italy under pressure.
"We should have put the foot down more in the second half, but credit to Italy – they came back and had a lot of ball, lots of defending for us to do."
Townsend was non-committal on whether this would be his final Six Nations match with the side as the Rugby World Cup in France looms large this year and could herald the start of a new four-year cycle for the team under different leadership.
"We'll see. We're going to have to come to a decision – I'd imagine there'll be one at some point over the next few weeks.
"I love days like today, even in the bad moments when you're under pressure, to be involved with your national team – there's nothing better.
"My focus has just been on the coaching in the last few weeks. I need some time to reflect and see what's going to happen after that."
Scotland have set themselves up for a third-place finish this year, barring a big bonus-point win for England in Ireland later on Saturday.
"It's been an eventful Six Nations," Townsend said. "France was a really encouraging performance, the last two weeks maybe weren't as good overall.
"You get that in sport, and we're just glad we finished with a win."
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