Townsend set to rest Lions for Scotland's summer tour

Willem Nel will return to the front row for Scotland in one of three changes in the pack

A late Greig Laidlaw penalty ensured Scotland narrowly avoided a nightmare end to their Six Nations campaign, beating Italy 29-27 after trailing the perennial wooden-spooners for most of the game.

"I felt each game we were getting better".

"Are we better than we are a year ago?"

"As long as we understand the level we need to get to and everybody understands that this is a long, hard, slog of a job to change things that weren't changed when they should have been but are now changing".

With Georgia sitting two places above the Azzurri in the world rankings, there has been a growing sentiment that the eastern European country deserves a shot in the Six Nations.

"I've played in Irish teams that have been beaten by Italy".

"We're going to try and spend 18 months trying to do something special up until the World Cup and then we can talk differently about it".

"It obviously wasn't our best rugby, but we found a way to win and that's a credit to the players on the field".

"We squeezed them and off the back of putting them under pressure we were able to open the game up". That has been the story of our Six Nations, when we are accurate we are very good, we played some good stuff.

"I've never in my life come across a more special not just rugby player but a person, he's an fantastic person".

While Italy yesterday had the unfortunate sensation of equalling the longest losing run in this competition - they equalled France with 17 - the efficiency of this performance surely put to bed the suggestion that they are not fit to be part of this tournament.

"I'm destroyed for the guys and the supporters", he told BBC Scotland.

No player was more important to Scotland's win than Laidlaw, who moved to stand-off 15 minutes into the second half after Finn Russell came off with a head knock. We were probably a score away from breaking it at 24-12.

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