Scotland v Wales reaction: Gregor Townsend laments poor discipline

Head coach unhappy with how the referee and Television Official handled the red-carding of Zander Fagerson

Zander Fagerson picked up a red card against Wales. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Scotland's Zander Fagerson picked up a red card against Wales. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GREGOR TOWNSEND said his Scotland team have only themselves to blame for this [Saturday] afternoon’s defeat to Wales. 

“Ill-discipline would be the number one factor [behind Scotland not winning that game],” said the coach. “When you go to 14 men for 25 minutes, it’s going to be more difficult. When you give away penalties that lead to points, that’s obviously not helping your chances of winning either.

“I felt we were in control defensively. There were a dozen phases in the first half where Wales weren’t going forward and then we got caught for offside and they kicked the points.

“We had three penalties in a row from line-out mauls that ended up with a try at the end of the first half, so we’ve got to be better there.


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“There were a couple of finishing issues as well, like Scott Cummings and Gary Graham running the same line for the disallowed try at the start of the second half,” Townsend continued. “With the pressure we had on them, that would have taken us well ahead – but credit to Wales, when they had their chances, especially through their line-out maul, they scored points.”

The coach expressed frustration at the way referee Matthew Carley and Television Match Official Karl Dickson handled the red-carding of Zander Fagerson in the 54th minute.

The decision hinged on whether the prop’s shoulder made contact with opposite number Wyn Jones’ head as he tried to clear out a ruck, and the video evidence appeared inconclusive. It certainly didn’t sound like the TMO was as convinced as the referee about it being a red rather than a yellow card offence.

“I didn’t think they had much of a discussion and I didn’t think they showed enough of the angles,” said Townsend. “They showed one slow-motion angle to begin with then took ages to find another one. The TMO did say that, because of the player’s late movement, you should make sure there’s no mitigation there, but I thought the whole process could have been much better.

“It’s obviously very serious when someone gets a red card and it just felt that there wasn’t the right angles or a proper discussion. There was a discussion between the team of three [the referee and his two assistants] when they were waiting for the angles, and they seemed to make their mind up then.

“Did we see it live? It looked like it was played in slow motion on one angle rather than actually going, ‘was there late movement, was there a clear strike of the head?’

“One of the angles I saw, I don’t know if there was [contact with the head].

“But they’re part of the game, red cards, and you have to deal with them. There was one last week and apart from the moment straight after the red card, I thought our players did very well in that period and got back ahead on the scoreboard.

“I really believed that we could still win [after Fagerson’s sending off]. The effort and the skill the players showed in that last ten minutes was outstanding, to create a really good opportunity for Duhan van der Merwe, but it wasn’t enough.”

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Meanwhile, Wales head coach Wayne Pivac paid tribute to 20-year-old winger Louis Rees-Zammit, who scored two tries and got the assist for a third, in a man-of-the-match performance – but warned that he is not the finished article yet.

“He took his opportunities well and played well with the ball in hand,” said Pivac. “He’s still got a bit to do on his game without the ball but he’s going to be a very, very exciting player.”

The victory puts Wales top of the Six Nations table ahead of tomorrow [Sunday] afternoon’s clash between France and Ireland, which is a big boost to Pivac who was under a bit of pressure pre-tournament after the team finished fifth in last year’s competition.

“It is a great result for this group, especially as we had to go deep into our squad due to injuries,” said the coach. “We’ve built some depth in key positions and it bodes well for the future.”


Scotland v Wales report: hosts pay the price for poor discipline

 

 

About David Barnes 3817 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

32 Comments

  1. I agree with EDC. Price should not have kicked the ball back to Wales with three minutes remaining. Keep the ball in hand when running out of time. O’Mahoney got three weeks. I will be interested to see if Fagerson clear out is treated with more sympathy.

  2. I agree with EdC. Price should not have kicked the ball back to Wales with three minutes remaining. Keep the ball in hand when running out of time. O’Mahoney got three weeks but I will be interested to see if the Fagerson clear out is treated with more sympathy.

  3. Like Alasdair’s comment at 13.30 yesterday I also had a feeling of despondency that has lasted just that bit longer, unlike him however I honestly can’t say I have been more disappointed about a Scotland loss: ever.
    The rights and wrongs of the Red Card will persist in one way or another for the remainder of the week. However, suffice to say that after last week anything remotely similar was going to be an early bath. I am much behind the thoughts of Grant’s comment this morning when he gives some credence to why over and above ‘player safety’ it is the concern about ‘class actions’ that could well be an additional factor in a far stricter application.
    I am not sure if I am alone in thinking that some of the Law changes brought about over the past couple of decades have along with the professional era opened up a can of worms regarding the game morphing from a Players and former Players game to one that attempts to make it more commercially attractive: but one that has failed.
    Continued efforts to get the engagement correct is now a method of collecting either points or territory and Rugby Ping Pong has become a modern equivalent of watching paint dry.
    In the ‘Black Dog Days’ that followed Saturday I envisaged a tonking against a resurgent France in Paris followed by a loss to Ireland and a loosing struggle against an Italian side that isn’t that bad and can only improve: that along with the Wuhan Lurgy lockdown could in extremes be just the straw that breaks the Camels back and looking for a Swiss Telephone directory.
    Nah! It’s only a game, and we have been playing some excellent Rugby.

  4. The Fagerson call by the ref was wrong in my book. The TMO had it right. It was a yellow. But World Rugby are pushing this agenda because they are seeing these class actions mounting for early onset dementia and they don’t have insurance to cover the court cases. If you can’t clear out rucks then you cant have ruck contests. Offensive rucking will end up being two men over the ball carrier with heads down near the ground so no defending clearer will go near them for risk of a card.

    We didn’t make the right decisions at crucial points. Scrummage instead of points in front of the Welsh posts as a good example.

    Wales are always a decent side and its by margins that they won. I abhor this deifying of players (Rees-Zammit) when they have a couple of good games. Yes, he’s got some game and talent. But he’s twenty and has not really faced any team that has decided to make his life difficult. He got man of the match because of the media need for a new face. I don’t like to see young players put under that pressure.

    Hogg had a much superior game to him. The stats don’t lie.

    Tries – Hogg 2 vs. Rees-Zammit 2
    Metres made – Hogg 113 vs. Rees-Zammit 42
    Runs – Hogg 11 vs. Rees-Zammit 6
    Defenders beaten – Hogg 6 vs. Rees-Zammit 2
    Clean breaks – Hogg 3 vs. Rees-Zammit 3
    Passes – Hogg 10 vs. Rees-Zammit 2

    Darcy Graham is up there with Rees-Zammit on stats apart from only having one try.

    Yet he got MoM. It is non-sensical.

  5. On the disallowed try, looking at it again, it looks from Prices’s eyes he’s looking at Cummings and the pass is meant for him, not Graham. GG comes on on the inside of Cummings and takes the ball with Cummings in front of him. I don’t agree that the welsh defender pushed Cummings in front of Graham … he was tackling the player he thought was receiving the ball.
    I suppose he could have been penalised for tackling a man without the ball ! If Graham had not grabbed the pass but supported Cummings , the latter would certainly have scored.

  6. The red card was a bit harsh and certainly affected the result but it’s no good Townsend complaining about it after the fact. Our general discipline was very poor and reflects badly on him as head coach. I also thought Hogg, as captain, should have been letting his team mates know it wasn’t good enough in no uncertain terms. In keeping with others, brilliant though he was individually, he seemed more preoccupied with attacking every time we had possession, good or bad. Just because you can attack from anywhere doesn’t mean you should attack from everywhere.

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  7. I noticed in the disallowed Gary Graham try, that Cummings was pushed in front of Graham by the welsh winger. Cummings was tackled without the ball and pushed in front of Graham. It is ridiculous that the TMO doesn’t spot this on the replay.

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  8. I was going to say that I can’t remember when I’ve been so disappointed and depressed with the outcome of a match… but of course I can. So many, many times over the last two, no make that four and a half decades. However, the disappointment is all the more frustrating because this was clearly a match we not only should have won, but ought to have had wrapped up before half time. And even when we continued to concede penalties and mess things up, we still should have won with something to spare. I hope they learn something from this.
    Hate to point fingers but Graham (G) seemed to be on a reckless wrecking mission and it cost the team more than Fagerson’s sending off. Cool heads needed.

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  9. I was going to say that I can’t remember when I’ve been so disappointed and depressed with the outcome of a match… but of course I can. So many, many times over the last two, no make that four and a half decades. However, the disappointment is all the more frustrating because this was clearly a match we not only should have won, but ought to have had wrapped up before half time. And even when we continued to concede penalties and mess things up, we still should have won with something to spare. I hope they learn something from this.
    Hate to point fingers but Graham (G) seemed to be on a reckless wrecking mission and it cost the team more than Fagerson’s sending off. Cool heads needed.

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  10. Pig sick as they say, that’s a game we should have won. The red or yellow it does not matter, Zander does have a tendency to go in like a charging buffalo, this time he got it wrong. In view of player safety it’s best to leave these type of clear outs to the history books. What ever disadvantage might have accrued from Zander leaving it alone was totally out weighed by the damage done by getting sent off.
    That said thought the forwards generally did OK , we did miss Ritchie but another great game from Gray jnr, and Watson. Why is Hugh Jones coming on for the last part of the game , he made more breaks and looked the best of the backs after Hogg. Not sure what Lang or Harris bring in attack. Finally am I the only one who thinks Finn has been rubbish this 6N or is he playing to Townsends play book and not his own. Wish Horne Jnr was available as well.

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  11. I reckon the red was probably fair enough, but I’m absolutely furious that the entire rugby world isn’t screaming about Liam Williams leading with the elbow in to James Lang’s head at the end of the first half. Utterly embarrassing that the 4 person officiating team missed it

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  12. Sam Warburton in the commentary believed the red card was harsh. It was quite clear Wynn Jones was attempting to play the ball, so a clearout was justified. For Warburton to say that is surely significant.
    After the first half, a comfortable Scottish victory looked possible, but credit to Wales, they upped their game early in the second half and our penalty concessions rose as a consequence. It is frustrating when possession is vital and surrendered too easily.
    I suspect the conditions played their part in the tactics as well as the error count, as two missed place kicks and some slips in open play suggested the footing was treacherous. I have my own domestic bias, but I believe having a full compliment of players throughout would have ensured the Scottish defence would have remained resolute and the threat posed by our backs would have had enough influence on the result. Wishful thinking perhaps, but we have a pretty good squad at present. Redpath’s return would be very welcome.
    I hope Rees-Zammit is going to be a nightmare for his opponents for many years, he’s an exciting talent.

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    • It doesn’t matter if Wynn Jones was attempting to play the ball, text his mum or scratch his nuts, you can’t make contact with the neck or above.

      As the TMO was trying to downgrade it to yellow, my guess is that the refs have been told to be strict on this area

      • Yes it does matter, as that makes it different from the red card for O’Mahoney, with a legitimate reason for the clearout.

      • It doesn’t matter if it was a legitimate clear out or not. If you hit the head or neck with force you risk a red card. Can there really be people who don’t understand this?

  13. Carley was awful, as he was when we played Ireland last. The red card decision was based on conjecture as, from what we could see on the replay, the Welsh player’s head was more or less off-screen and the alleged contact does not show. Wales, with a few notable exceptions (wingers and front row) were not great and lived off opportunism. In no way being flippant, I genuinely believe they will lose certainly their next two games and possibly even against Italy away – if all keep 15 men on. To say they deserved their win yesterday is nonsense, yes they clawed it back to 17-15 with 15 vs 15 but Scotland were by far and away the better team as demonstrably true in the stats.

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    • Grow up if it happened to a Welsh player you would say nothing that’s why your a bad loser good game Wales can’t wait till you bust England bubble nobody gives Wales credit all bad losers

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    • I don’t think the referee was awful at all. The red card was nowhere near as bad as last week’s but we could all see the contact and Fagerson put himself in a position where he could be shown red and he was. His fault not the refs.

      Looking forward to Italy beating Wales although I’m not sure at what sport. Certainly not rugby!

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      • James, note use of word “possibly” re Italy. My mistake, however, regarding next two games, thought Wales were playing England and France next. Failing to send off Williams and chalking off try whereby a Welsh player tackled Cummings off the ball into Graham’s path – yes, he was awful. Onwards and upwards though, Scotland played well overall but we don’t know for sure where Wales are at as they’ve played much of the comp thus far against 14. My guess is England and France will beat them with something to spare.

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  14. Why did Price kick the game away at 77:10 ? Answer mental fatigue cause it was such an appalling descion.. He needed to have been subbed at 70. That was a coaching error.
    Not taking 3 pts twice in 22. Captaincy error
    Red Card. Player 80% at fault. Officials take the other 20%
    Finally penalty not called for holding on ? Mental fatigue in officials? A mistake for sure.

    Overall we were better than Wales but lost it due to lack of game management.

    Very annoying.

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    • You lost and Wales won give credit to a fantastic team out of form wales played bad and if you play that bad and still win games then look out England if Wales are on form at home so congratulations wales

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      • England will pump Wales. They have scraped by in two games vs 14 with luck of the bounce and favourable decisions.

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      • So Ireland lost just go’s to show there not that great loads of mistakes and a man up and couldn’t score to save there lives. As Wales took advantage last week. So stop crowing. It’s Wales or France for six nations. So come on Wales yakedar boys give the English a whapping lads. Good luck

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    • Are you talking about the spell on 60-65 mins when we were camped under their posts? We turned down a couple of kicks but scored a converted try. It was a great decision, just a shame we couldn’t defend that lead.

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    • I agree with EDC. Price should not have kicked the ball back to Wales with three minutes to go. Keep the ball in hand when running out of time.

  15. We need a number 9 who can hold on to the ball and not kick away possesion at a time near the end when, with pressure, we might’ve secured a penalty. As a result the ball ended up in our 22, and the game was lost. Indiscipline throughout let us down.

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  16. My reaction was a yellow though not surprised that the ref chose red.

    It looked too similar to last weeks incident and I think that influenced the decision.

    A harsh lesson on international rugby, hopefully we use this to push on.

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