Iain Morrison gives his take on a ninth straight defeat for Scotland in the Six Nations.
1) Scotland are still making the same old mistakes, time after time
Against England Finn Russell broke out from deep inside his own half and kicked too early when he should have passed. Against Wales John Barclay broke from deep and took the wrong option. England’s George Kruis barged his way over the line and on Saturday just gone Jamie Roberts did exactly the same. Stopping Roberts is a tall order but Scotland have to find a way if they ever want to beat Wales.
2) You can’t win without a set piece worth the name
In truth this is the very first rule of rugby. WP Nel struggled in the set scrum but he is heaps better than anyone else so cross your fingers he stays fit and healthy. But it was the lineout where Scotland really suffered, if not in the actual throw/catch then in the immediate aftermath, especially that one five metres from the Scottish line when Greig Laidlaw was caught napping and spilled Richie Gray’s pass.
3) Vern Cotter has almost nothing to turn to on the substitutes’ bench
He would play the first XV if he possibly could because the reserve props can’t hold up the best opposition. Stuart McInally does make an impact but almost no one else does. Warren Gatland was able to whistle up Lions’ Gethin Jenkins and Dan Lydiate. Cotter has almost nothing
4) Duncan Taylor may be the third (maybe fourth) choice inside centre for Scotland but he is way better than that
He not only stopped the flying Tom James in the second half to prevent one sure fire Welsh try but he also scored one himself late in the game. Cotter will have some interesting decisions to make when Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne and Matt Scott are all fit and available.
5) It’s still acceptable to focus on performance
This Scotland team is young, the coaches are right to concentrate on the performance rather than the result and the wins will come when they have a little more experience and a little more nous about them...hopefully starting in Rome.
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