Gregor Townsend has revealed that a jibe by skipper John Barclay may have inspired hooker Ross Ford to bag two tries on Saturday in the win over Italy in Singapore.

The Edinburgh Rugby man’s two scores were added to by other tries by Ali Price, Tim Visser and Damien Hoyland as the Scots got Townsend’s reign off to a winning start.

Ford had only scored two tries in 107 Tests prior to this one, but now has four tries in 108 appearances.

And Townsend believes that a bit of gentle ribbing by Barclay to his long term team mate last week may have led to the double in the 34-13 victory.

“Ross had a little challenge the other day,” Townsend stated.

“Him and John Barclay had to commentate on tries that they had scored for Scotland and we had to dig quite deep in the history books to get Fordie’s out and John was teasing him – maybe that gave him a bit of good luck!

“To make the breakthrough at half-time gave us a big boost. We scored a couple of really good tries in the second half. As a coach, if you get a win and there’s a few things to work on, you’re very pleased.

“We knew it was going to be tough in the conditions, first time this team had played together but I was really pleased with the effort the guys put in throughout the game, especially defensively around the maul area, around the set piece, which is a bring strength of Italy’s. We did that very well.

“It wasn’t perfect. Sometimes how we wanted to attack, we saw that being transferred, other times we weren’t there yet but I felt the guys kept working at it.

“You don’t get a tougher Test than playing in these conditions in training here this week and really pushing yourself to the limit and they came through very well.

“Obviously, there were some tired bodies – players that haven’t played for a few months were pretty tired but they stuck in. This will be of huge benefit as we look to Australia and then Fiji.

“We watched Australia play in their win over Fiji and they were outstanding. They’re a quality side – World Cup finalists. They’ve always been floating around the top two, three, four in the world and they play really good, attacking rugby but they’ve also got an outstanding defence.

“It’s a brilliant game for us to play in but we know we have to play close to our best to win that one.”

And Captain Barclay stated: “The intent from the boys was there. We’re really happy with the win.

“We knew it would be hot, but we wanted to start with speed and intensity and I thought we did that.”

Scotland are pictured in Singapore by David Gibson/FOTOSPORT

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