Scotland rue ill-discipline as winning run comes to an end

Greig Laidlaw and Vern Cotter both point to yellow cards as key factor in defeat

French referee Pascal Gauzere shows a yellow card to Scotland’s Alex Dunbar during the Six Nations match  against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

French referee Pascal Gauzere shows a yellow card to Scotland’s Alex Dunbar during the Six Nations match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Perhaps Scottish captain Greig Laidlaw always cuts a lugubrious figure. That didn’t change after the game, which in the last 10 minutes threatened to spill into a proper brawl.

Two yellow cards for Scotland, an early collision between Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour that accounted for Keith Earls’s try and in the end well beaten and stopped in their winning tracks by Ireland.

“Discipline today cost us, which we are disappointed about,” said a doleful Laidlaw. “Test match rugby and you pick up two yellow cards, you’re playing with 15 boys on the field for 60 minutes. It was hard. The referee, we didn’t get much from him at all. It was disappointing. We spoke about is before the game. It was critical and that was probably one of the areas we let them into the game.

“This team is going forward. People should see that. Even though we were ill-disciplined today we were still in it at 28-20. At crucial times of the game we need to learn to be cool and just hold the ball.”

Coach Vern Cotter mined the same area of the game for reasons for Scotland’s defeat. The Scotland coach also saw Scotland’s discipline as a swing factor in the match.

That combined with a sluggish start had them stuck in a match that they were always chasing.

“It wasn’t a good start. I’ll acknowledge that,” said Cotter. “They held the ball and it took us a while to get our hands back on it. We got a yellow card . . . I thought some of the penalties were tough but in the second half we managed to hold the ball and get them under some pressure.

“Perhaps we weren’t accurate enough and just as we were climbing back and getting ascendency we got a second yellow card and were playing 20 minutes with only 14 on the field. Yeah, it’s tough.”

Scotland see themselves as a work in progress under Cotter.

“We will learn from that,” said the coach. “We still showed character and courage and scored a couple of good tries.”

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