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'I'm quite angry' - BBC pundit rips 'absolute shambles' Scotland

By Stefan Frost
Stuart Hogg and Louis Rees Zammit /PA

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Tom English, the chief sports writer for BBC Scotland, was left embittered after Scotland fell to a disappointing 20-17 loss to Wales at the Principality Stadium yesterday.

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Scotland beat England by the same deficit last week but extended their 20-year barren run in Wales with a performance that lacked uniformity and bite.

On the BBC Rugby Podcast, English let his thoughts be known on Scotland’s second loss to Wales in as many years.

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“Not good enough. Not good enough,” bemoaned English. “It was a litany of mistakes. Every kind of mistake in the book. They conceded eight penalties at the breakdown, 12 or 13 overall.

“Scotland never played. They scored one try, which was a great try, the one time they tried to play. In the second half, they were abject, they never ever tried to put a bit of width and ambition into the game.

“It was all Wales and Wales were pretty average. They were no great shakes but they deserved to win the game.”

Darcy Graham dotted down in the corner early and following a few Finn Russell penalties, Scotland took the lead. However, a Tomas Francis finish from a rolling maul levelled the scores entering half time. A cagy second 40 offered up no tries and was defined by a Dan Biggar drop goal on the 70-minute mark, enough to split the sides come the final whistle.

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“Scotland just did not turn up,” English complained. “Whatever game plan they were trying to play is beyond me. I’m quite angry at the performance because the Scotland team is better than that. That was a putrid performance.

“They never threatened, they never put pressure on Wales. They tried these dopey kicks in the second half to try to play the game in Wales’s half, but they didn’t have the accuracy to even do that much.”

What frustrated English the most was the lack of ball fed to Scotland’s talented back line. Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg often opted to kick long, starving the outside backs of ball in hand.

“Wales had more thunder about them,” he said. “Scotland had nothing and we know this team has loads of attacking strengths but they delivered none of that tonight and got absolutely what they deserved. Scotland were just an absolute shambles.

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“They [Wales] looked like a team that was desperate for victory. They were prepared to do whatever they could to win the game.”

Minutes before Biggar landed his drop goal, Finn Russell was sent to the bin for committing an intentional knock on. The card dampened Scotland’s attacking verve and helped Wales close out the contest, much to the annoyance of English.

“That was the big turning point,” English admitted. “Finn Russell doesn’t have to do it. He contributed significantly to Scotland losing the game here with that act of absolute stupidity.”

The card meant that Russell has been sent to the bin in three consecutive Six Nations away matches. He previously got a yellow for a trip against England and a red against France for a high tackle.

English’s co-commentator Peter Wright jumped in to further pound the Scottish performance.

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“From the first minute Scotland were playing passively, almost conservatively,” Wright said. “That was a poor Welsh team that defended pretty well. I think if they had played the way they did in the first half, with a bit of adventure changing the point of attacking contact, then you put Wales under pressure. All Wales had to do was run straight at them and most quality Welsh professionals will cope with that type of attack.”

“Individually we were really poor. Pierre Schoeman and Sam Skinner played really well but Duhan van der Merwe was embarrassing in the second half. He took the ball into contact twice and lost it twice. That is totally unacceptable.”

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