Six Nations 2016: Scotland 'must start with bang' - Richie Gray

Richie Gray gallops over to score Scotland's second try
Richie Gray's try brought Scotland back to 28-20 behind before Ireland stretched away again

Lock Richie Gray says Scotland can't afford flat periods and must start every game 'with a bang' if they are to develop into a world-class team.

An uplifting Six Nations featuring wins over Italy and France ended with a 35-25 defeat by Ireland on Saturday.

Two quick Irish tries while the Scots had a man in the sin-bin proved costly.

"The top teams in the world simply don't have flat halves like we did. They don't come out and start slowly," Gray told BBC Scotland.

"I hope we can achieve that winning habit, and every time we take the field, we start with a bang."

Gray's second-half try in Dublin was one of 11 Scotland scored in the tournament, surpassing their previous best Six Nations tally of nine in 2000.

Scotland - points tally & triesSix Nations 2000-2016
2016: 122 points, 11 tries2007: 95 points, 7 tries
2015: 73 points, 6 tries2006: 78 points, 5 tries
2014: 47 points, 4 tries2005: 84 points, 8 tries
2013: 98 points, 7 tries2004: 53 points, 4 tries
2012: 56 points, 4 tries2003: 81 points, 7 tries
2011: 82 points, 6 tries2002: 91 points, 6 tries
2010: 83 points, 3 tries2001: 92 points, 8 tries
2009: 79 points, 4 tries2000: 95 points, 9 tries
2008: 69 points, 3 triesTotal: 1256 points: 102 tries

Their 25 points in defeat was the most they had managed in Dublin for 32 years, contributing to an overall haul of 122 from their five matches, the first time they had passed three figures in the Six Nations.

"I think there's been progress," added, Gray, echoing the sentiments of captain Greig Laidlaw and hooker Stuart McInally.

"Certainly, looking at last year's tournament, we didn't manage to win a game and this year we won two and came very close in two.

"We finished well and we'll take a lot of positives from the championship.

"We've always said that it's a talented group, it's a group that can do things and we're building towards something."

Stuart Hogg, who scored a stunning solo try in Dublin, and Duncan Taylor, who enjoyed another strong outing after a brilliant individual try against France, have been nominated among 12 playersexternal-link for the Six Nations player of the tournament award.

England trio Billy Vunipola, Jonathan Joseph and Jack Nowell, Wales duo George North and Gareth Davies, Ireland's Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray, France pair Guilhem Guirado and Virimi Vakatawa, and Italy captain Sergio Parisse are the others.

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