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Scotland: Gregor Townsend backs Stuart Hogg after another mistake

Scotland ‘have to remedy five-minute period’ – Townsend

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg was “an inch or two away from a brilliant decision” despite a costly error in the Six Nations loss to England, says head coach Gregor Townsend.

Hogg meant to let a bobbling ball roll over his try-line before grounding it, but instead conceded a 5m scrum from which England scored the winning try.

It was the full-back’s second high-profile mistake in as many games.

“There were about 40 or 50 errors in the game,” head coach Townsend said.

“A lot of kicks that went straight out, a lot of line-out errors, a lot of handling errors. If that ball had bounced forward, it was a 22 drop-out to us, not a scrum-five to England.

“It’s very hard to judge in those conditions and he’s an inch or two away from making a brilliant decision.”

In carrying the ball over his own line before falling on it, Hogg allowed England the put-in to the set-piece, and a few phases later, Ellis Genge smashed over.

The captain said he would take the mistake “on the chin” and not “shy away” from it.

The 13-6 loss is Scotland’s second in two Six Nations fixtures, following the 19-12 reverse in Dublin last Saturday.

In that game, Hogg dropped the ball inches from the try-line when he had a glorious opportunity to score.

On Saturday, Storm Ciara made for horrendous conditions at Murrayfield, contributing heavily to a scrappy, mistake-strewn scrap.

Trailing 3-0 at the break and playing into the gusts, Scotland dominated the early part of the second period, but could not breach the English line.

Townsend was unhappy his team were not awarded a penalty when Kyle Sinckler illegally ripped the ball from Jonny Gray on the ground with the scores level.

“It was on the big screen, and we have three officials watching that,” he said. “You don’t expect the referee to see everything because there are bodies in the way but there are three officials looking at that.

“That was a turning point for us, because it is very difficult playing in those conditions when you’re three points behind.

“The players were outstanding to get into a position to go to 3-3, and then to go 6-3 up from that penalty would have changed the game.”

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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