Grant Gilchrist urges Scotland to learn from autumn losses

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Grant Gilchrist believes the lessons learned from Scotland’s autumn campaign could prove invaluable as they prepare for another stiff Six Nations examination.

Gregor Townsend’s side ended their November series on a high as they edged out Argentina on Saturday amid testing conditions in Edinburgh.

The highlight of the past month was the eight-try hammering of Fiji but the roller-coaster journey also included a couple of disappointing dips.

Wales were allowed to triumph in the opening clash in Cardiff when two Huw Jones missed tackles resulted in tries while South Africa escaped with victory at Murrayfield as the Scots failed to make the most of their chances.

But Gilchrist believes those setbacks will help drill into his side the lengths they must go to if they are to establish themselves as championship contenders come the spring.

The Edinburgh lock said: “We’ve had a good autumn. The Six Nations still seems a long way away but on the whole we’ve done well.

“Obviously we would have loved to have won those narrow defeats against Wales and South Africa. We feel that we let ourselves down and we could have won those.

“But there is good learnings from that and if we do take the good stuff that we did and add the learnings to make some improvements then we will back ourselves against anybody.

Sean Maitland dives in to score for Scotland on Saturday
Sean Maitland dives in to score for Scotland on Saturday (Ian Rutherford/PA)

Gilchrist insists there are signs already that Scotland have taken on board the teachings they have received from facing some of the world’s top sides as they overcame the Pumas 14-9.

The damp conditions in the capital left the ball resembling a wet bar of soap and ruled out any chance of the hosts utilising their trademark free-flowing passing game.

But there was enough in Townsend’s Plan B as they eventually triumphed thanks to Sean Maitland’s second-half try.

“It was one of those games where the weather conditions played a part,” said Gilchrist. “Some of it also had to do with our own execution but we were just delighted to get over the line in what was a scrappy win.

“There was frustration. Obviously we want to play a certain way but the ball was that slippery and Argentina defended really well.

“We had to look to a different way to win and the main positive is that good teams find a way to get the result. Sometimes it’s not pretty but we’re delighted to get a win across a strong Argentina side.

“There was a bit of relief at the end but I think you’ve got to take joy out of winning Test matches. As soon as we got back in the changing room we celebrated a win the same way we always do.”

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