The high of Twickenham collapsed into the deepest of lows at Murrayfield as Scotland blew a 17-3 advantage over Wales and suffered a crushing loss in their second Guinness Six Nations match.
The Scots had only themselves to blame for this one. The red card to Zander Fagerson with Scotland ahead 17-15 midway through the second half will get the main focus and rightly so, but what really cost them was the general indiscipline and lack of composure we thought had gone for good after last week.
Having managed the game at Twickenham so well, the Scots let this one out of control from as strong a position they’ve had against a home nations side in the championship for more than a decade.
Wales looked outclassed and out of it half an hour in, yet were given a platform with a try from Louis Rees-Zammit’s try just before halftime after a spate of unnecessary penalties allowed them to move 70 metres up the pitch.
The game hinged on the crucial ten-minute spell just before the hour mark. First Scotland crossed for what they thought was their third try and the rightful reassertion of their dominance of the game, but Scott Cummings got in the way of Gary Graham and was called for crossing.
It was a clumsy mistake quickly punished. Wales took the penalty and went straight up the other end for Liam Williams’ score after a powerful lineout drive, taking it to 17-15.
An inevitable red card
Scotland were actually on the march to take back control again when Fagerson’s dangerous clearout of Wyn Jones brought the inevitable red card.
Credit to Wales, they drew on all their considerable experience for their 26 minutes a man to the good. Their forwards drove for another try, and then when Stuart Hogg’s second score of the day threatened to let the Scots off the hook, they opened out and made the extra man count for Rees-Zammit’s superb solo try to finish it.
Credit the Welsh also for the resilience to come from behind for the second week in a row – only they can win the Triple Crown now – but at 17-3 it looked an impossibility.
Two well-crafted tries from Darcy Graham and Hogg took Scotland out to a position of comfort and they seemed comfortable in attack and defence. Wales weren’t making any real inroads and their eight points were pretty much the result of Scotland giving up six penalties in batches of three at the beginning and end of the half.
Indiscipline of Dublin returns
Surely the indiscipline of Dublin in October was not going to be allowed to return? Instead it did calamitously with four more penalties in the opening spell of the second half crowned with Fagerson’s sending off.
The prop has a confrontational style but it rarely results in him getting sanctioned like this. It was a stupid and ultimately crucial mistake given anything at all is picked up by TV match officials in today’s game.
The Scots must now painfully regroup for Paris, but what an opportunity missed this was.