Wales 21-10 Scotland: Gregor Townsend laments Scots' defensive lapses

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George North bursts through to score opening try

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend lamented a slow start and some costly defensive lapses that gifted Wales tries in their 21-10 defeat in Cardiff.

Townsend felt his side "didn't get going until about 30 minutes", by which time they were 14-3 down.

George North powered through Scotland centres Huw Jones and Alex Dunbar for Wales' first try, with Jonathan Davies exposing Jones again for the second.

"We need to be better defensively," Townsend told BBC Scotland.

"To slip off tackles and give them tries when they didn't have to do much work, that was disappointing.

"When Wales went through phases we got stronger in defence and a few times we turned them over. So to miss tackles when they're only one or two phases into their attacking set is disappointing.

"Huw [Jones] is as disappointed as everyone else. It's a first game, we've got to make sure we improve over how we were there."

Townsend also felt Scotland were "flat in attack" in the first half, until captain Stuart McInally finished off a rolling maul from a line-out to give them impetus before the interval.

The second half "was much better" according to the head coach, but the visitors had two further tries ruled out by the television match official, when Jonny Gray's double movement ended short of the line, and Peter Horne was adjudged not to have grounded the ball.

"You could say we're unlucky," Townsend said. "Jonny is a millimetre away from the line and I think that was a toss of the coin whether Pete grounded it or not.

"But we had two or three other opportunities where we have to do better or be more accurate. You put a lot of effort to get to the try-line but your focus, energy and accuracy has to be spot on to make the most of those opportunities."

Peter Horne dives over for the Wales line, but the try was ruled out
Townsend felt the decision on Peter Horne's disallowed try was "a toss of the coin"

Hastings 'got more and more into the game'

While Scotland's losing streak in Cardiff now extends to 10 matches going back to 2002, Townsend also took heart from the display of fly-half Adam Hastings.

The 22-year-old Glasgow Warriors player kicked five points and grew more into the game as it went on, with the head coach saying he was "much better" in the second half.

"It's a big step up for everyone," Townsend said. "It's not so much the physical side of it, but the way Wales defend is a big step up from Pro14, and the occasion, the mental side of the game.

"It's great Adam had those 80 minutes, and very positive to see how he played in the second half, he got more and more into the game, with a couple of cracking kicks behind the defence.

"He started to open up holes, got on the ball a lot more, being much more positive, and we played most of the game in their 22 in that second half. Your half-backs have to be playing well for that to happen."

Scotland will return home to Murrayfield next week for the first of three more autumn Tests, starting against Fiji, who Townsend rates as "the best team in the world off turnover ball".

"We have to be accurate, and learn from things today - things we did well that we have to repeat, things that didn't go well that we have to figure out how to get better at," he added.

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Davies scores on return to confirm Welsh victory

Scotland 'have to get more clinical' - analysis

Former Scotland scrum-half Andy Nicol on BBC One: "Both Welsh tries came from them putting it wide and asking questions of the defence. Scotland were going so narrow and so direct, that it was easy for the Wales defence just to smother Scotland in attack. So they've got to get more width against the Fijians next week, and get more clinical - Wales had two chances and scored two tries."

Former Scotland prop Peter Wright on Radio Scotland: "Wales were mediocre at best and they still had enough to beat Scotland - that's the disappointing part of today."

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