Wales captain Ken Owens remained adamant that his squad still has the quality to turn around their side’s fortunes after a difficult 35-7 Guinness Six Nations defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield.
George Turner’s first-half try was cancelled out by fellow hooker Owens but a second-half Kyle Steyn double and late scores from Blair Kinghorn and Zander Fagerson saw Scotland ease clear and maintain their unbeaten start to the Championship.
The defeat marks Warren Gatland’s first loss against Scotland in his combined 12 years as Wales head coach and skipper Owens acknowledged the team will have to work hard if they are to pick up a result against England in two weeks’ time.
“It’s definitely a confidence issue – when you’re winning and you’ve got that momentum it is hard to lose and we’re going through the flip side of that right now,” said Owens.
“We’ve got to work hard next week but there’s enough experience and belief in this team with lots of youngsters coming through – it’s early days with the new coaching staff so we need to work hard next week and try to turn the corner against England.”
Finn Russell’s early penalties were compounded after Turner went over from short range in the 31st minute.
The hooker was sin-binned moments later for a high tackle and Gatland’s side took advantage, with Owens scoring from a maul to go into half-time 13-7 down.
However, Wales failed to add to their first-half tally and conceded 22 unanswered points as Scotland ran in four second-half tries in front of a frenzied home crowd, with Owens citing second-half errors for his side’s downfall.
He added: “We had a really good first-half performance, we were a lot better and perhaps a bit unlucky not to go in slightly ahead at half time.
“We delivered everything we spoke about but it was our second half and the errors we made which put pressure on ourselves.
“If you give a team like Scotland front-foot ball, when they’re full of confidence, they’re going to punish you.”
The defeat leaves Wales bottom of the table but Owens trusts that the work on the training ground will soon pay dividends.
“There are positives out there, we believe in what we’re trying to achieve,” he said.
“We’ll stay tight and we’ll keep working hard and trying to deliver – we’ve just got to grind out a win and start building that momentum.”