Paying the penalty for poor discipline

Stuart Cameron.
Stuart Cameron.

THE Scottish boys were all disheartened and frustrated about the high penalty count against Wales, which, for many, ruined the game.

Referee Craig Joubert came in for some stick for his whistle-happy performance.

It was caused mainly by infringements in the scrum where Scotland, in particular, weren’t on the same page of the law book as the experienced South African official.

Interim head coach Scott Johnson was left bewildered by the decisions which went a long way to costing Scotland the match.

Joubert is not a man who is famous for blowing up at every opportunity, but on Saturday both teams were penalised constantly.

In the end, 18 penalty goals were attempted.

That figure could have been higher, as there were other penalties conceded inside the half of the defending team late in the game, which Scotland opted to kick for touch.

Eighteen is a world record, but talking with both Greig Laidlaw and Wales’ marksman Leigh Halfpenny after the game, neither enjoyed being put into the spotlight in this way and felt it had a negative effect on the game.

Halfpenny landed seven in all and missed three easy kicks – which would have given him a world record of penalties in one game.

Those three misses all came in the first half, so credit to him for getting his radar back on track again. Laidlaw managed six out of eight.

Despite all the controversy, I found the game gripping and exciting and there was certainly a fantastic atmosphere inside the stadium.

The game was close right up to the end, but it was disappointing we didn’t see more than one try in the game.

It’s always interesting to read the fans’ and media comments.

Some pundits have said the head coach job should be given now to Johnson.

I disagree, along with most fans. I think we need to wait to see how the team gets on in South Africa when they take part in the summer tournament.

Even if we win in Paris on Saturday night (8pm ko in the UK) we should not make any hasty decisions which could lead to financial penalties later in the year if things go wrong.

Scotland, on current form, should beat the French, but we all know how unpredictable they can be – so don’t be surprised if the hosts cut loose for the first time this season.

Hopefully, we can get a third win and some tries. A third game without a try is a stat we could do without.

With nothing to lose, both teams throwing the ball about could make for a dazzling spectacle.

Remember 1999 with five Scottish tries in the first half?

Nice thought!