Ireland 17-13 Scotland: Gregor Townsend 'really proud' despite 'frustrating' Six Nations campaign

Gregor Townsend insists he is "really proud" of his players, despite Scotland's Six Nations campaign ending in a third defeat, as Ireland were crowned champions in Dublin.

Scotland trailed by just one point at half-time and defended bravely in the face of relentless Irish attack, particularly in the second half.

However, they were ultimately worn down, and lacked the necessary composure in attack to stage a comeback against an Irish side not at their clinical best.

It ends a championship of 'what ifs' for Townsend's side, after a controversial defeat by France and a shock loss away to Italy in Rome, but Scotland's head coach chose to see the positives.

"I feel really proud of the players," he said. "All 23 - the effort they put in today in one of the toughest environments to play in.

"They fronted up in the first half, very physical, and at times created opportunities to pressure Ireland. We know we could have done better in the third quarter, but I'm so proud of the effort at the end.

"To score that try and then look like we might score another try, that's all you can ask from your team. You could see the fitness of our players and the impact of our bench."

Co-captain Finn Russell echoed Townsend's sentiments but believes Scotland simply have to improve as they strive for consistency.

"We were really good in phases again, but we gifted them the try in the first half," the Bath fly-half said. "It sums up this campaign for us - up and down.

"We need to get a lot better mentally for next year's campaign because we can't afford to be up and down. We will get better, but it's tough.

"Ireland are the team to beat. In my opinion they are the best team in the world. The boys stood up today with a performance to be proud of."

'The overriding sense is frustration'

Despite captain and coaches' assertion that they are "proud" of their performance, Scotland at times flattered to deceive across the championship.

"You just want him to be disappointed," former Scotland Sevens captain Colin Gregor said of Townsend's comments.

"It's still a loss. Is he proud because he was expecting to get cuffed? I can understand why he's saying it, but is that the benchmark? Just to give Ireland a game?

"That wasn't a good Ireland team; that wasn't a good Scotland performance.

"Yes, there was backs-against-the-wall defence, but the basic errors in attack, the things that were in their control they didn't do all that well.

"The overriding sense for me is still frustration. The attack needs a whole heap of work."

Former Scotland prop Peter Wright also questioned Townsend's remarks.

"It's been a very inconsistent championship," he said. "Should have beat France, Italy was disappointing and when Gregor actually watches this game back, he'll be disappointed.

"He'll reflect on the words he said. Be proud of the defensive effort, but that was an Ireland team that was misfiring. Scotland were still in the game because Ireland didn't take chances.

"It's what could have been."