Hamish Watson called the decision to red card Zander Fagerson “a rubbish call, an absolutely dreadful call” but conceded Scotland had “chucked away” back-to-back wins against Wales.
Scotland had seemed primed for their fifth Six Nations win in a row for the first time since the 1984 Grand Slam at 17-3 up after half an hour, but they gave away too many key penalties and the red card to the tight-head prop gave Wales a crucial advantage with 26 minutes left.
Louis Rees-Zammit’s last try, his second, confirmed Wales 24-25 win and they are now the only side who can win the Triple Crown.
Watson was unequivocal about referee Matt Carley’s decision to red card Fagerson for a dangerous clearout on Wales’ Wyn Jones but accepted that it was not the primary cause of the loss.
`We chucked it away’
“It was indiscipline that cost us,” he said. “Wales didn’t win it. We had that game in our hands and we chucked it away.
“Zander will be fine. That was a rubbish call, an absolutely dreadful call. That’s not rugby that call.
“We’ve already got round him. He’s a great player and a big part of everything we do with Scotland.
“He can hold his head high I think.
“But we lost that game in the last 10 minutes of the first half and the first 10 of the second. We lost that game when we had 15 on the field.
“We controlled the first 20-30 minutes and could have gone even more in front when we were down in their half. Another try would have been game over.
“But our ill-discipline cost us the game. It’s not good enough and we’re all gutted. We know how good a team we are but the fans deserved a better performance.”
‘France is going to be 10 times harder’
Watson said the team were defiant and ready to push to Paris to play France in two weeks.
“France away is going to be 10 times harder than the games on Saturday,” he said. “We know we’re a good enough team to go to France and beat them, though.
“We haven’t done that there for a while so we want to get that monkey off our backs.
“Saturday doesn’t change how good a team we are. It was a slip-up of our own doing and we will go to France full of confidence because we know how good a team we are.”
Head coach Gregor Townsend was clearly frustrated at losing from a two-try advantage but accepted that “giving away penalties back-to-back” had put them under pressure.
Townsend: ‘Better in some aspects than Twickenham’
“I want the players to move on,” he said. “We’ve got to take what will make us a real threat and challenge for France, in how we played and how we defended.
“Obviously we’ve got to fix the areas that make it easier for other teams to get into games. That would be the process whether we’d won or lost.
“I thought the performance was outstanding – and even better, in some aspects, than the win at Twickenham.
“The players are hugely disappointed because we felt we had that game under control. With the effort they put in, they’re exhausted.
“But you will have seen evidence of their mentality in the way the players played. To build up such a big lead and play with that accuracy, that energy, we had Wales under pressure.
‘We had a try ruled out that could have put us even further ahead. Other things happened that put us under pressure.
“Obviously the red card (was) one, but also us just slipping for five minutes’ concentration and Wales taking their chances.”