Scotland captain Stuart Hogg was left frustrated by his side’s ill-discipline as Johnny Sexton’s late penalty saw Ireland to a dramatic 27-24 win at BT Murrayfield.
Ireland, thanks to scores from Robbie Henshaw and Tadhg Beirne, had built up a 24-10 lead but Huw Jones and Hamish Watson crossed as the hosts mounted a superb second-half fightback to level at 24-24 with five minutes remaining.
However, Gregor Townsend’s side immediately conceded a penalty which Sexton coolly converted to end Scotland’s slim hopes of winning the Guinness Six Nations title – extending Ireland’s Championship stranglehold over them.
Having fought so hard to get back into the game, Hogg was left frustrated at the number of chances his side gifted their opponents thanks to a penalty count of 11.
“I think the frustrating thing for us is giving them 24 points in the first place,” Hogg said.
“Credit to Ireland, they took their opportunities, but for the second game in a row we’ve been ill-disciplined and allowed easy field position and kind of killed ourselves at times.
“We gave them good positions and they executed them extremely well so fair play to them.
“Him (Johnny Sexton) and the rest of the Irish boys were outstanding for 80 minutes there and fully deserved their win.”
The result means Ireland have now won 17 of their last 20 Championship meetings with Scotland, and the visitors started the stronger – taking a quick 8-0 lead through Sexton from the tee and Henshaw’s score.
Scotland would regroup, taking the lead through a bizarre Finn Russell try, but Ireland took a 14-10 lead into half-time and would then extend that by a further ten points thanks to Beirne’s score and five more points from Sexton.
Before falling to agonising defeat, Scottish flair got the hosts right back into it with neat scores from Jones and Watson – and Hogg was not to be drawn on criticising his side’s expansive game in its immediate aftermath.
Now in fifth place in the table, and with Italy and the rearranged clash with France to come, the full-back believes Scotland’s attack is thriving, but it’s their match control that is letting them down.
“We scored 24 points by playing the way we want to play,” Hogg added. “We can be told how to play all the time but what’s working for us at times is throwing the ball around.
“Yes, we could have a little more of a clinical edge at times, you just have to take every opportunity, especially in international rugby.
“I felt a times we were in control of the game and other times we let it slip. We talk a lot about living in the moment and staying in the moment, and unfortunately we’ve slipped up at times here.”