Scotland v Wales: Gary Graham’s disallowed try was a turning point

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg said he was “bitterly disappointed” that his side twice threw away a winning position against Wales and identified Gary Graham’s disallowed try in the second half as a turning point.
Scotland's Scott Cummings (left) was guilty of blocking and Gary Graham (with ball) had his try disallowed. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNSScotland's Scott Cummings (left) was guilty of blocking and Gary Graham (with ball) had his try disallowed. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Scotland's Scott Cummings (left) was guilty of blocking and Gary Graham (with ball) had his try disallowed. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Scotland led 17-3 late in the first half but Wales scored a try just before the break to make it 17-8 at the interval.

Graham crossed the line eight minutes into the second period but the score was chopped off because team-mate Scott Cummings was guilty of blocking.

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Two minutes later, Wales went up the other end of the pitch and scored a try through Liam Williams to reduce Scotland’s lead to 17-15.

“It’s a massive part of the game, that,” Hogg said. “We were very close to scoring seven points there. Unfortunately, we’ve ended up conceding.”

Scotland prop Zander Fagerson was shown a red card shortly after the Williams try for connecting with Wales prop Wyn Jones’ head at a clearout. Jones then edged Wales ahead with a try against the 14 men.

The home side fought back and took the lead when Hogg scored his second try of the match. Unfortunately for the Scots, the lead lasted just five minutes, with Louis Rees Zammit scoring a superb try to put Wales 25-24 ahead, which was how the match finished.

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“We’re bitterly disappointed,” said Hogg. “We talked all week about going out there and expressing ourselves and really taking it to Wales - and we’ve done that for large periods of the game.

“I think we were very much in control of the first half especially, and then just a few moments didn’t quite go to plan.”

The Scotland captain rued his side’s ill discipline but vowed it would improve for their next Six Nations match, against France in Paris on February 28.

“Giving away penalties is one thing: conceding three or four on the bounce is unacceptable,” added Hogg. “In international rugby it’s going to cost you, and it’s done that to us twice.

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“Look, it’s little things that are costing us. But the pleasing thing is we know exactly where we’re going wrong - there’s been times in the past where we’ve made mistakes and keep making them, whereas now I believe that’s a one-off in our ill discipline. We’ll be much better prepared for the France game in terms of our discipline and we’ll get excited for that challenge.”

The full-back scored two tries against Wales and almost scored a third at the death. A surging run by Duhan van der Merwe saw him offload to Hogg but the ball slipped from the captain’s grasp. But the captain took some comfort from the way Scotland continued to take the game to Wales, even when down to 14 men.

“That just shows the character within the squad and the ability that we’ve got,” he said. “We challenge ourselves daily to get the best out of each other - you see how much we’re enjoying it being out on the field.

“Yes, it didn’t quite go to plan at times, but that’s something we can learn from and improve on, and we’ll get excited about the next challenge in a couple of weeks against France.”

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