Townsend: An exciting few weeks for Scottish sport

Townsend: An exciting few weeks for Scottish sport

The Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in France this evening, is one of a number of major sporting events taking place over the next few weeks with Scottish involvement.

The Scotland squad are currently on the outskirts of Marseille preparing for their opening match against South Africa on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 4.45pm BST).

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend says he hopes the sport over the next few weeks will give Scottish fans something to cheer about.

Townsend said: “It’s an exciting few weeks for Scottish sport. The football this week, rugby right through September and October, and Bob MacIntyre getting in the Ryder Cup team so we have got someone to cheer for.

“There are some massive events, the biggest tournament in our game, one of the biggest ones in golf just around the corner, and you’ve got the football team doing really well. It makes everybody who is interested in sport feel better when the team they support are doing well.

“We get a boost when we watch the football team do well and we’re another sporting organisation so I would imagine people that are big supporters of us, it gives them real hope and inspiration and lifts their mood for a day or a week and they can’t wait to get behind the team in the future. That is certainly the feeling we get from our supporters.”

The Rugby World Cup is one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar and Townsend believes Scots will be watching the matches in large numbers, with all the games shown live on STV and ITV over the next seven weeks.

He also highlighted the large crowds who turned out to see Scotland play their three home matches this summer against Italy, France and Georgia, as a sign the game is continuing to grow.

He added: “A lot of people say to me, ‘I don’t tend to watch rugby but I watch the Six Nations or the World Cup’. There is something about the national team, whether it’s football or rugby, that makes you go, ‘Right, I don’t have to be a big supporter of it, but I will switch it on because I know they are representing us’.

“We have seen it with the crowds we have been getting at Murrayfield over the last few years but if we just take the last three home games over the summer, the crowd numbers there before the game were huge.

“They are there two hours before the game and they stay there afterwards. It’s brilliant. I think there’s a different group of people coming to games. Maybe these games were different because they were in the summer but I saw so many families at our last game against Georgia and it was great to see.

“We had three generations of families coming to watch the team. A lot of that is from the way the team is playing but it’s also because of the players as people. They are the most humble, open and engaging guys you could coach. I see how much time they spend with supporters and that rubs off.

“If you have a group that is closed, won’t stay for autographs and ignore people who want to chat them, that is going to have an effect on what people think of you, whereas this group are brilliant. I believe that is a big part of why the people in the country are behind them.”

Scotland v South Africa is live on STV and ITV this Sunday (10 September) kick-off 4.45pm BST.

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