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Scott Steele thrilled with scrum-half opportunity

The Harlequins ace made his first start for Scotland as Gregor Townsend's team ran up a record-breaking 52-10 triumph over Italy.

Scott Steele admits he is on cloud nine after getting the chance to impress at last for Scotland in his favoured scrum-half slot.

The Harlequins ace made his first start for Scotland as Gregor Townsend's team ran up a record-breaking 52-10 triumph over Italy.

It was a day to remember for the 27-year-old as he capped off a superb display with his maiden Test try in a game that saw the Dark Blues record their biggest ever win in the Five or Six Nations.

But Steele was just relieved Townsend finally gave him the opportunity to show his full capabilities as a half-back having been chucked on as an emergency forward against Ireland last week.

His international debut against Wales last October also saw him shunted to the wing as a string of injuries forced the Scots into a hasty reshuffle.

But Steele has now emerged as a real threat to Ali Price's status as Townsend's first-choice nine after setting the rapid pace which helped cut the Azzurri to shreds at Murrayfield.

"It was just good to know I would be starting in my normal position given I won my first cap coming on to the wing then last week I was thrown into the back-row," he said.

"It was exciting to know I would be getting a proper crack at nine.

"It was a bit less nerve-wracking playing in my usual position rather than coming on in the back row and not really having a clue what was going on.

Scott Steele seized his opportunity
Scott Steele seized his opportunity (Jane Barlow/PA)

"And the game was great. To score eight tries was good for everyone and shows we played some good stuff out there.

"There are still a lot of things we can fix up but personally for me to get a try and a first start was amazing."

Steele is not the only one who has been forced to adapt to new surroundings.

Captain Stuart Hogg was shunted forward from full-back to take over the injured Finn Russell's number 10 jersey and Steele admits he had to talk his 84-cap skipper through the game just as much as Hogg had to dish out advice on how to cope with debut nerves.

"Hoggy and I had a lot of good conversations through the week," he said. "Finn was able to help us both out a lot too even though he wasn't up for selection.

It was exciting to know I would be getting a proper crack at nine

"There's a lot of experienced guys in the back line too with the likes of Sean Maitland.

"So we just made sure we all caught up after training to look at stuff and ensure we were all on the same page because it was his first game at 10 and my first game at nine with the team. I think it went well."

Saturday's win was a much-needed shot in the arm after back-to-back defeats against Wales and Ireland.

And Scotland now plan to use that morale-booster to fire up their bid to kill off Championship-chasing France's title hopes.

"I think it will help the confidence levels," said the Dumfries-born ace. "I think there are still things we can improve on.

"We gave away a couple of penalties around the half-way line which were probably unnecessary and one or two bits in our attack we didn't quite get right.

"But to score as many points as we did will lift our confidence.

"We're still searching for that 80-minute performance so we'll go away this week and work on that.

"But there is definitely a better feeling in the camp after Saturday's win."

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Gregor Townsend pictured in January 2016
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