Six Nations 2015: Greig Laidlaw frustrated at defeat to Wales
Scotland captain felt the match was close and was disappointed not to get a result from a much better performance than 12 months ago
Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw was left frustrated as his team-mates fought hard but were again denied a win in the RBS 6 Nations.
The Gloucester scrum-half nudged the Dark Blues into a 10-3 lead on 11 minutes after Stuart Hogg’s screaming try from good turnover ball, but Scotland fell behind after two Leigh Halfpenny penalties and a converted Rhys Webb try on 33 minutes.
Wales made the most of Scotland losing outside-half Finn Russell to the sin bin and full-back Hogg slotting in at half-back with Webb’s try down the left then held firm as they were also reduced to 14 men when Jonathan Davies was sin-binned seconds after the restart, with Laidlaw among the Scotland players to go close to breaching the tryline.
You never like getting beat. They’re absolutely gutted, but there was a performance out there today that certainly wasn’t there 12 months ago.
The second half was also a tense affair with both sides having tries ruled out by the referee.
Laidlaw and Halfpenny traded penalties before Davies fought through a tackle and ran away for Wales’ second try on 63 minutes to take the score to 16-26.
Scotland eventually found a way back into the match and again lay siege to the Wales tryline, but it took until the last minute for Jon Welsh to find a way through, with Finn Russell converting, but the officials decided time was up and Scotland had to settle for an eighth successive defeat to Wales.
“It’s very frustrating,” Laidlaw said after the match.
“I felt it was a tight Test match throughout. Clearly the result shows that.
“I think we scored a great try in the first half and just fell off them a little bit off the back of that, but we finished very strongly at the end and put them under a lot of pressure.
“You never like getting beat. They’re absolutely gutted, but there was a performance out there today that certainly wasn’t there 12 months ago.
“Slightly different circumstances, but we’re playing rugby now, we’re putting teams under pressure.
“We just need to keep having the confidence to play and we’ll get over the line, I truly believe that.”
While much had been made about Scotland’s indiscipline, it was Wales who finished the match with the higher penalty count, conceding 17 to Scotland’s 13.
Wales racked up 11 second-half penalties with Scotland piling on pressure in their 22 and the Scotland captain was disappointed not to see a yellow card produced, despite his opposite number being warned by referee Glen Jackson.
Laidlaw was also adamant there was time for the restart at the end of the game after Russell converted Welsh’s try, despite the ball being dead and the clock going red before the players could return to the half-way line.
“There were six or so penalties in the 22, it was disappointing not to get anything out of that,” Laidlaw added.
“We can look at that. That’s when we had them under pressure in their 22.
“That’s why we felt as though one more penalty they should have picked up a yellow card, that’s why we went for the tap.
“The referees all need to look at [the end of the game]. From where I was sitting I thought there was time to take the kick.
“Whether we would have went on to score, that’s a different matter, but we’ll never know that.”
Despite the circumstances surrounding the end of the match and the manner of the defeat, Laidlaw believes that Vern Cotter’s Scotland are making progress.
With Italy next up for Scotland at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 28 February, he believes that they must get a win.
“We talked about the small margins of the result out in Paris,” he said.
“We’ve got to keep working on the small things that will improve our game. I think this group of players is becoming a strong team.
“We’re not far away. I think we have to keep believing that and now it’s all about the next game.
“We’ve got a massive game against at home against Italy.
“All that matters now is that we turn up in that game and get a positive result.”