2013年3月13日 星期三

Scotland well beaten by Wales but referee ruins

The South African match official had awarded a record number of kickable penalties - 18, and 28 in all throughout the contest - with Wales' outstanding fullback Leigh Halfpenny slotting seven of them and converting Richard Hibbard's first-half try.

How Joubert found so may faults without brandishing a yellow card to any one of the offenders throughout the match is a mystery given that was the exact reason that the ten minute sin-bin was brought in to the professional game.

Johnson was too professional to let slip what he was undoubtedly feeling but confessed of Joubert's refereeing: "It didn't make for a great spectacle but we were in the same position as [Wales] when it came to his decision-making.

"But he seems like a good bloke and I don't want to be a guy who talks about a referee's performance when we lose, I don't want to do that."

Scotland's fortunate run in this Six Nations never really looked like continuing shortly after Hibbard's try midway through the first half, and the backline were starved of any real possession throughout the contest.

Despite this, winger Sean Maitland came out top of the metres made chart, and stand-off Duncan Weir also excelled in the wintry conditions.

The stand-off was unlucky not to get his name on the score sheet after narrowly losing a foot race against opposite number Dan Biggar after he had utilised his soccer skills to chip over the top of the Welsh blitz defence before prodding the loose ball towards the try line.Virtual streetlight logo Verano Place logo.

If Scotland had been lucky against Ireland a fortnight ago, their luck had ran out against a quality Welsh side who never really looked in danger of conceding a try save for Weir's opportunist effort and a frantic final flurry.

Once again they came out second best in the possession (43%) and territory (41%) and did not register a single line-break, although Wales only managed one themselves after winger George North burst through the Scots' defence in the move leading up to Hibbard's score.

Johnson must be slightly concerned that after scoring six tries in the opening two matches, Scotland have now gone two games without getting close to scoring a try.

"We can't go on playing Test rugby like that and we don't want to," the coach confirmed when it was pointed out that Scotland now appear to have slumped back into their old habits.

Whilst Scotland again managed to poach a couple of line outs through Jim Hamilton and Johnnie Beattie, it was the scrum which again was the main source of frustration for both coaches and spectators alike.

So many penalties were awarded that at one point Scotland hooker Ross Ford, usually a placid and restrained character,Large collection of quality solarlight at discounted prices. looked as if he may have taken his own frustrations out on referee Joubert, such was the lottery of his decision making which deprived either side of gaining any real superiority.

For that reason Johnson and assistant coach Dean Ryan may consider re-calling Glasgow openside John Barclay as Scotland badly need a scavenger to fight for the ball in the way that Wales' Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric did so effectively, helping his side by winning nine turnovers and contributing to their 102 tackle completions.

If Barclay is re-called for next Saturday's finale in Paris then that would probably mean captain Kelly Brown reverting to the blindside in place of Rob Harley in what would be a reunification of the famous "Killer B's" who formed such an effective unit for both Glasgow and Scotland not so long ago.

Captain Brown, who suffered his first Murrayfield Six Nations loss, was also looking to take positives from the defeat.

"We'd worked hard on our skills all week but I felt that in our tackling we probably went a bit high and if you do that against players of their quality then you'll get found out," he sighed.

"We need to focus now on an absolutely huge match next weekend against France, we're not going to focus on the referee, rather what we need to do to get better."

After England's narrow win over Italy at Twickenham on Sunday, the eyes of world rugby will undoubtedly be on Cardiff's Millennium stadium next Saturday, but for Scotland and their supporters, the focus will be on trying to condemn a poor France side to their worst ever Six Nations finish and also register a first win at Stade De France since 1999 - coincidently the last time Scotland won the championship thanks to Wales' defeat of England at Wembley Stadium.

If history could repeat itself next weekend and Scotland beat France, coupled with a Welsh win over England, it wouldn't change much in terms of the final placing but it would confirm that Scotland are well on the road to recovery after what has been a miserable few years in the world's most famous rugby competition.

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