Guinness Six Nations Championship

Scots pay heavy price for failing to take their chances

Costly: Stuart Hogg (pic: SNS Group)

Ireland 19 Scotland 12
Aviva Stadium, Dublin

It was a case of what might have been for Scotland as Gregor Townsend’s side slid to defeat in their opening Guinness Six Nations clash.

Missed chances proved costly for the Scots, who were the better side for large chunks of the match.

Time and again they threatened the Irish line only to fall short.

Sinner in chief was new captain Stuart Hogg, who failed to ground the ball for a try with 30 minutes remaining.

The post-match analysis will prove painful for the skipper, the Exeter Chiefs man dropping the ball as he looked set to touch down in the corner with the hosts 13-6 ahead.

A score at that point could well have provided the catalyst for a Scotland triumph and he’ll have sleepless nights over his costly lapse in concentration.

Townsend jumped to his star man’s defence, saying: “He was probably excited for scoring the try and it’s not like him. We had a number of other occasions close to the try line – whether it was the ball-carrier presenting the ball better, 50-50 decisions from the referee that didn’t go our way, or ourselves not getting speed to contact.

“They were as important as that incident and especially right at the end of the game to be right on the line. Stuart should flush that and move on because he was outstanding today and has been a very good leader the last two weeks.”

For all their commendable effort, Scotland were guilty on too many occasions of losing line-outs and conceding turnovers which prevented them for building a foundation to push for a rare win in the Irish capital.

They may have lacked the guile to get the better of an unflinching Irish defence but there were enough positives in among the errors to give Townsend optimism ahead of England’s visit to Murrayfield next weekend.

Ireland: Tries: Sexton; conversions: Sexton; penalties: Sexton (4)

Scotland: Hastings (4)

In the day’s other match, Wales strolled to a 42-0 victory over Italy in Cardiff.

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