High hopes – Scotland coach Gregor Townsend
Gregor Townsend hopes words of wisdom from acrobatic display team the Red Arrows will help Scotland become high-flyers when international rugby union resumes following the coronavirus outbreak.
The Scotland head coach and his staff held a video conference call with the Royal Air Force team just days before they took part in celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe earlier this month.
Scotland’s coaching team are trying to learn from other organisations during the lockdown and have spoken to staff from baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays and Belgium football coach Roberto Martinez.
But Townsend said his “most fascinating” get-together had been with the Red Arrows.
“We got to speak to two of their team of nine, one of them being their leader,” he said during a conference call.
“It was three days before they flew over London and we just couldn’t believe they gave up their time to discuss how they put together their performances, how they review it. There were a few things we took from that we could apply in our sport.”
But it will be a while yet before Townsend can see the on-field benefits after World Rugby announced Friday that the entire July programme had been postponed due to COVID-19.
Scotland had been due to play world champions South Africa twice before facing the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time in 20 years.
“As a team we were generating some positive momentum in the Six Nations,” said Townsend, whose side had won two of their four matches when their Championship finale against Wales in March was postponed just a day before kick-off in Cardiff.
“As a tour it would have provided an excellent learning experience, but we fully understand the reasons why it can’t go ahead.”