Scotland players were left bitterly disappointed after their epic 27-26 victory over Wales on Saturday, with coach Gregor Townsend admitting their decision making was poor.
Scotland led 27-0 after 45 minutes and were cruising to what seemed like it would be a record victory, but let Wales score 26 unanswered points in the next 25 minutes before closing out their first win in Cardiff since 2002.
“It’s a funny one. A lot of our players are disappointed and we’re trying to say to them this is an important win for the next few weeks of the championship, but also in terms of not winning here for so long,” Townsend told reporters.
“We were disappointed with the game getting so close and it could have gone either way with the momentum Wales had in the second half.”
At one stage, Scotland conceded 14 penalties in a row and lost 16-4 on that score through the 80 minutes, as they also received two yellow cards that contributed to giving Wales a way back into the game.
“The penalty count went against us and that pressure will tell,” Townsend said. “There’s more to it than that, but that put the pressure on us, and then we didn’t make the best decisions.
“Wales also played really well, I thought they were good in their close-quarter exchanges.”
Meanwhile, Wales coach Warren Gatland hailed his players’ mentality and said their performance was a “step in the right direction.”
“It’s hard [to sum up the game],” Gatland told reporters. “I was really disappointed with that first half. We were really inaccurate, had no tempo in our game and gave away some soft penalties.
“The message at halftime was simple — just go out and play some rugby. They should be proud they didn’t throw in the towel. But we’ve got to make sure we’re smarter than we are.
“There are probably some learnings for us, but it is a step in the right direction.”
Gatland believes the character of his side shone through, which will hold them in good stead for the game against England at Twickenham next Saturday.
“Like I just said to the players, did we give them [Scotland] too much respect? To do what we did, other teams might have shown less character. They kept fighting and put themselves in a position to win.
“We’ve just got to play like we did in the second half [against England]. They are in a rebuilding phase and we will go there with confidence.”