Townsend adamant 'true Scotland' weren't on show in Wales rugby hammering

Scotland rugby union coach Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend believes a hammering by Wales in their Six Nations opener was not a reflection of the "true Scotland" as he backed his side to raise their game against France at Murrayfield on Sunday.

The Scots entered the tournament with high hopes following a promising November campaign that included a win over Australia and a narrow defeat by world champions New Zealand.

But away form has long been Scotland's Achilles heel in the Six Nations and their Championship started with a 34-7 thrashing by Wales in Cardiff last Saturday, where only Pete Horne's late try saw Townsend's men avoid the embarrassment of failing to score any points at all.

Scotland coach Townsend is adamant his side have it in them to bounce back from an error-strewn display against a France team who were also defeated first time out, albeit in heart-breaking fashion after a last-ditch Johnny Sexton drop-goal saw them lose 15-13 to Ireland in Paris.

"The responsibility for last week lies with the coaches and myself," said Townsend after unveiling a XV showing six changes on Thursday.

"We put a team out to perform. Whether it is selection or how we prepared, the first thing we look at is how we could have done it better.

"We, as a coaching group, and especially the players, believe that what we showed at the weekend wasn't a true reflection of what we are capable of and what we have done throughout 2017."

However, the former Scotland playmaker added: "I really believe in the group of players. We under-performed -- it happens every now and again. You don't want it to happen, you think hard about why it happened and you go to a lot of measures to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"But this is an excellent group of players that have shown that over the last year.

"Our focus is now on France. We have two huge games coming up at Murrayfield (arch-rivals and Six Nations champions England arrive in Edinburgh later this month) to show what we are capable of and, in the context of the championship, we will see after this weekend where we are."

Several experienced players -- including former captain Greig Laidlaw, an astute scrum-half, and No 8 Ryan Wilson -- have returned in a bid to get Scotland's season back on track.

"We hope it will be a really important factor," said Townsend. "The players coming in to start this week showed energy when they came on )off the bench) last weekend. In Greig and Ryan, specifically, these are guys who have been captain or vice-captain of the team in the past, so they get their opportunity this week.

"Greig has got a lot of experience. He's been captain of the side for a couple of seasons. He drives a lot of the standards off and on the field, so having him back in the group last week was already a positive and seeing him play so well and being desperate to be back in the team will help others around him."