Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
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Six Nations 2019: Scotland 'must start winning' big games to progress - Russell

Six Nations 2019: Scotland 'must start winning' big games to progress - Russell

Finn Russell on the hoof after intercepting the ball in the lead-up to Sam Johnson's try.

Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton was forced off after being struck by a series of big hits, the heaviest in the build-up to their second try.

"We're disappointed. Handling errors cost us, but the referee doesn't seem to like us".

"Why did we have such a good first half and not play the same in the second half?"

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt praised his team's set-pieces and ferocious defense, but said the key difference from the week before was their attitude. "These are the situations you love to be in when you're on the back foot and you have to come out fighting". We're not going to blame him, though. "If we're going to progress we need to start winning these games".

Scotland's livewire fullback Stuart Hogg and Ireland's flyhalf and world player of the year Jonathan Sexton limped off in a close first half, during which the visitors outscored Scotland with two tries to one through Conor Murray and Jacob Stockdale. 'We'll see what will happen over the next few days.

"Physically we matched them in defence and attack but our errors allowed them into the game". Whenever we got into their half we struggled to keep hold of the ball.

Ireland would always punish such sloppiness more ruthlessly and Japan's coaching team will have noticed how decisively they capitalized on Scotland's lack of discipline and accuracy in the second half. I threw a forward pass.

"We'd ideally like to play better and play with a bit more fluidity than we did today", Best told the press afterwards. We felt we'd done alright in some areas, and were pretty poor in others with some silly mistakes.

While most of his team-mates will remain in the capital to prepare to face Jacques Brunel's side, Russell is heading back across the Channel with the possibility of being involved for Racing against Toulouse next weekend.

"We are relying on others, but when it comes to next week [in Italy a week on Sunday] and the final two rounds we don't have to rely on them for how we approach things and how we perform", Schmidt said.

It was Italy who scored the first try when South African-born flanker Brahm Steyn barged across the line, breathing hope into the perennial wooden-spooners who have now lost 19 straight Six Nations matches stretching back to 2015. In the couple of minutes leading up to the break, there was a period of play that saw Scotland go through 25 phases deep inside Irish territory without scoring a single point.

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