“We would obviously have liked to have won that game,” said Townsend after the 18-11 loss at Murrayfield. “We had errors, probably caused by the defence’s pressure, but we had chances.
“Five penalties in the [Welsh] 22, to not get anything from that seems like their indiscipline was rewarded and our pressure wasn’t rewarded. Was I surprised there was no yellow card? Yes.”
Would he take the issue up with World Rugby?
“The game is over so nothing really changes on that.
“If teams are giving away penalties close to their own try line through cynical play, whether it is in the lineout drive or by not rolling away in the tackle area, then you expect that pressure close to your try line to lead to yellow cards. That is international rugby, how it is refereed throughout the world.”
He was backed up by skipper Stuart McInally who claimed, “on another day we may have got a yellow card”.
Coaches the world over use deflection when their team loses on the basis that they prefer headlines about referees rather than the shortcomings of their own side.
Townsend, pictured, was still highlighting Peter O’Mahony’s tackle on Stuart Hogg weeks after the event. Following that up with more complaints about match officials leaves him open to a charge of sour grapes, even if Townsend was making a valid point, Wales did take liberties at the breakdown but Scotland have to adjust, and the coach would be better advised to minimise criticism of match officials.
Warren Gatland was a little more generous but with a perfect record of 11 wins from 11 matches against Scotland, the Kiwi coach can probably afford to be. He was in jocular mood, responding to rumours that he might coach England next with a cheeky aside about next weekend’s Grand Slam game with Ireland.
“Yes, it will be emotional,” said Gatland. “It will be my last Six Nations game… with Wales.
“We were pretty comfortable during the first half but in fairness to Scotland they came out and put us under a lot of pressure in the second.
“We’ve lost the second half 5-3 but we’ve shown some real character. There were a couple of moments when Scotland were attacking but we drove them back and kept them out.
“Any team that’s won a Grand Slam, you look back at certain games and know you’ve had a little bit of luck.”
After yesterday’s match, thoughts will inevitably turn south towards Twickenham where Scotland “boast” one of the worst records in world rugby having failed to win in west London since 1983.
“What we showed today against the number three team in the world, if we build on that performance we can be a match for any team in the world,” Townsend insisted.
“We know how England are at home, what a strong team they are, but records are there to be broken. And that will be the case if we play like we did today and improve those areas close to the try line.”