Jump to main content

Reaction: Laidlaw and Townsend frustrated at second-half struggles

Reaction: Laidlaw and Townsend frustrated at second-half struggles

Greig Laidlaw and Gregor Townsend were in agreement that Scotland’s lack of execution cost them against Ireland as they suffered a first defeat of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

The Scots trailed 12-10 at the break, carrying some momentum into the second half after a very strong end to the first.

Instead though, it was Ireland who came out all guns blazing, with Keith Earls’ try proving decisive in a 22-13 success.

A failure to turn possession into points at the end of the first half might have been costly for Scotland, but both captain and coach were adamant that it was the lack of accuracy in the second period that was the bigger issue.

Laidlaw said: “We’re frustrated after the game. We felt we made a few errors in the second half, whether that be launching from lineouts and releasing the pressure valve in a sense.

“We couldn’t really build any pressure because we kept turning possession over. We gave Ireland the set-piece and they were able to exit their half, and it’s always difficult to score from deep.

“We were really confident at half-time. We felt we were on top of them, causing them problems with our attack and we just couldn’t convert that into the second half.

Google Ads Manager – Leaderboard

“That’s what has cost us the game. We were in a good position at half-time but our performance in the second half, through some of the errors, cost us the game.”

Townsend added: “We played very well in the first half, we probably could have got one try more and I’m frustrated we gifted a try through our error but I’m very happy with the way we played. But in the second half the execution of our set-piece plays to get us into our game and to put more pressure on Ireland, just didn’t happen.

“We got a lot of our attacking game into play with really good decisions and work rate off the ball that meant we were finding space. If we had replicated that in the second half, I think we would be here with a win.

“That final piece, the execution of set-piece, which has been really good, fell off the jigsaw today. That’s my fault, I’m the attack coach.”

Townsend paid tribute to Joe Schmidt and his coaching team for Jacob Stockdale’s second try, a fine move off the set-piece that finished with Johnny Sexton putting the winger through a gap and over from 45 metres.

But the Scotland coach has already turned his attention to the trip to Paris in round three where the Scots will look to get the better of Les Bleus for the first time since 1999.

He added: “It’s going to be a huge challenge in Paris. We’ve not won there in 20 years. France, the way they played in the first half against Wales, shows what a quality side they are.

“I believe in our squad, I believe the way we play will put pressure on any team, whether we are playing home or away.

“We have to be accurate, that will be the big focus for us over the next two weeks.”