By Gary Heatly
In Scotland’s opening game of the Six Nations they conceded only six penalties and a yellow card as they triumphed over England while, in losing to Wales in round two of the tournament, they gave away 11 penalties and had a man red carded.
The hosts had 62% possession at BT Murrayfield and led 17-3 in the first half, but their ill-discipline cost them dear as the Welsh made it two wins from two in a dramatic 25-24 victory on Saturday.
“We’ve got to be more disciplined,” Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said.
“Ill-discipline would be the number one factor [why we did not win]. When you go to 14 men for 25 minutes, it’s going to be more difficult. When you give away penalties that lead to points, that’s obviously not helping your chances of winning either.
“I felt we were in control defensively. There were a dozen phases in the first half where Wales weren’t going forward and then we got caught for offside and they kicked the points.
“We had three penalties in a row from lineout mauls that ended up with a try at the end of the first half, so we’ve got to be better there.
“However, we still had a lot of opportunities, some of them we took, some led to penalties, some we felt could have led to more penalties the pressure we had Wales under, especially at the beginning of the second half.
“There were a couple of finishing issues, Scott Cummings and Gary Graham just running the same line [for a disallowed score], that should have been a try with the amount of pressure we had on them.
“That would have taken us well ahead but it didn’t, and credit to Wales when they had their chances, especially through their lineout maul, they scored points.
“But I really believed we could still win because the effort, the skill the players showed in that last 10 minutes was outstanding, to create opportunities but in the end it wasn’t enough.
“The players are hugely disappointed because we felt we did have that game under control, and also the effort they put in, they’re exhausted.”
Red card: “I didn’t think the officials had much of a discussion”
The game’s big flashpoint was a red card for Scottish tighthead prop Zander Fagerson after 54 minutes when he charged into a ruck and was deemed to strike Wales loosehead prop with his arm to the head.
“I didn’t think they had much of a discussion,” said Townsend relating to how referee Matthew Carley, assistants Pascal Gauzere and Andrea Piardi and TMO Karl Dickson dealt with the incident as they watched on the big screen.
“I didn’t think they showed enough of the angles. I think they showed one slow motion angle and then took ages to find another one.
“The TMO did say ‘Are you sure because of the player’s late movement, there’s no mitigation there?’ but I thought the whole process could have been much better.
“It’s obviously very serious when someone gets a red card and I just felt they didn’t show the angles right and have the proper discussion.
“There was a discussion while they were waiting for angles and they seemed to have made their mind up then.
“That was the disappointing thing. Did we see it live? It looked like it was played in slow motion in one angle rather than saying, ‘Right, this is the process, was it late movement [of Jones]?’.
“Was it a clear strike to the head as well? One of the angles I saw I don’t know if there was.
“But it’s part of the game, red cards, you have to deal with them and apart from the moments straight after the red card I thought our players did very well and got back ahead on the scoreboard at one point.”
Welsh dragons: “They showed a lot of character”
Wales’ winning try came from 20-year-old winger Louise Rees-Zammit, his second of the day, and he is a star in the making.
However, this was very much a ‘whole squad’ performance by Wales to doggedly get the win to build on round one’s positive result over Ireland.
“They showed a lot of character,” Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said of his charges.
“At that stage of the game [17-3 down] it wasn’t going to script, but they regathered their thoughts, the leadership on the field was good and we came away with a score before half time.
“That was vital for us going into the changing rooms. The players reacted very well after half-time, the replacements made an impact and it was very nice to get the result at the end.
“Louis was exciting with the ball, wasn’t he? He took his opportunities very well.
“He’s still got work to do on his game without the ball, and that’s the exciting thing, he’s going to be a very exciting player for us going forward.
“What does this win mean for you and the coaching staff? It was very tight but you’re two wins from two.
“It’s been a really good squad effort over the last two weeks.”
Scotland: Tries: Graham (18), Hogg (25, 66). Pen: Russell (11). Cons: Russell (18, 25, 66).
Wales: Tries: Rees-Zammit (38, 70), Williams (52), W Jones (55). Pen: Halfpenny (6). Con: Sheedy (52).
Yellow cards: None.
Red cards: Z Fagerson (Scotland, 54).
Scotland squad: Hogg (C); D Graham, Harris, Lang, van der Merwe; Russell, Price; Sutherland, Turner, Z Fagerson, Cummings, J Gray, Thomson, Watson, M Fagerson. Subs used: Cherry, Kebble, Nel, R Gray, G Graham, Jones.
Not used: Steele, van der Walt.
Wales squad: Halfpenny; Rees-Zammit, Watkin, Topmkins, L Williams; Biggar, Davies; W Jones, Owens, Francis, Beard, AW Jones (C), Wainwright, Tipuric, Faletau. Subs used: Dee, R Jones, Brown, Rowlands, Botham, Hardy, Sheedy, Halaholo.
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referee 1: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant Referee 2: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Karl Dickson (England)
Thanks to David Gibson/FOTOSPORT for the main image
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