Gregor Townsend answered questions about his Scottish team culture and said their performance in Dublin answered criticism following an off-field incident during the Six Nations.
Scotland finished the campaign in fourth place with two wins and three losses and were beaten 26-5 by Ireland in Dublin on the final day.
This game came just 24 hours after it emerged that six players had been contacted by management for apparently leaving the team’s base on the outskirts of Edinburgh to spend an evening in the capital after beating the Italy.
Captain Stuart Hogg, vice-captain Ali Price and star running back Finn Russell were all named among the group.
Asked to address those who would question the culture of the team after such an incident, Townsend said: “Your culture is a response to a challenge – that’s what we told our players.
“If our culture was questioned, the best way to respond is to come out and play the opponent.
“They did that in Ireland on Saturday and they did that in training during the week.
“I don’t think there was ever any disciplinary mention from us. It was a private matter that was handled.
“It’s unfortunate that details about this have come to light, but things like this happen in a high performing group, just like they happen in a family.
“You have things to deal with that most of the time are not discussed by people outside the group.
“Either you get stronger from it or you don’t, and if you don’t, you won’t reach your potential as an individual or as a team.”
Asked if Stuart Hogg would continue to lead the national team on the pitch, Townsend said: “Stuart is our captain, he led the team on Saturday, there is still plenty of time until our next tournament, but it’s obvious that he was captain of the team for the last few years.
“We’ll have to think about everything but it’s not something we’re thinking about right now.”
Reflecting on the season, which saw Scotland defeat Australia, England, Japan and Italy but lose to South Africa, Wales, France and Ireland, the coach -chef said the defeat in Cardiff the week after winning the Calcutta Cup was the biggest disappointment. .
Townsend added: “France must be one of the two best teams in the world at the moment, Ireland must be in the top three or four.
“These are the teams we want to play against and win, so we’re disappointed but we know we’re not too far off – if we get it right and improve both as a group of players and as a team. as a group of coaches.