Scotland v Ireland: Gregor Townsend shoulders blame for Scottish loss to Irish

Scotland's Gregor Townsend
Scotland's Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend admits he will have to shoulder the blame for Scotland's failure to kill off Ireland's Guinness Six Nations title bid.

The Dark Blues made three defensive slips to allow Joe Schmidt's men to haul themselves back into the Championship title hunt after last week's setback against England.

But Townsend felt his team let last year's Grand Slam winners off the hook as their attack faltered.

And the head coach took full responsibility following the 22-13 loss at BT Murrayfield.

Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland got themselves in a muddle in the build-up to Connor Murray's opening try before Jacob Stockdale ran in after the visitors worked a second clever set-piece move in the moments after the Scots star full-back Stuart Hogg was forced off injured.

Finn Russell set-up Sam Johnson as the Scots hit back but they could not convert again despite some heavy pressure before half-time and paid the price as Keith Earls sealed victory with a third touchdown after the break.

"I'm so proud of the players with the way they played and the effort they put in," said Townsend.

"A game of rugby is a lot of things. It's the defence battle, the contact battle, the kicking game which is so important. I thought with the pressure we put on Ireland's kicks, we won those battles.

"But it was just that final piece, the execution off set-piece which has been really good, that fell off the jigsaw today, and that's my faulty.

"I'm the attack coach, and we weren't able to get those two or three phases either to get in behind the defence or set up our attack shape.

"I'm frustrated we gifted them a try through our error but very happy with how we played in the first half.

"The second half our execution of our set-piece plays to get us into our game just didn't happen.

"If we were able to replicate that first half after the break, then I think we'd be here with a win."

Hogg lasted just 17 minutes before a collision with Peter O'Mahony as the Glasgow star chased his own kick saw him suffer a shoulderproblem.

Within 60 seconds the Irish had worked space off a line-out and Stockdale darted through.

But Townsend refused to take aim at referee Romain Poite for not pinging Munster flanker O'Mahony.

Asked for an update on Hogg, he said: "He's very sore, he wanted to stay on but his shoulder was not right. We'll see what happens in the next few days.

"He chipped ahead, he got sandwiched between two players.

"These things happen quickly but there was a collision there that forced him to fly over and land on the point on his shoulder.

"It was a big point. We conceded a try a minute after that, and lost one of our best players.

"But these things are hard to keep an eye on because the game is so quick."