The try refused at the start of the second half is, according to Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, the turning point of the Six Nations Tournament match won by Italy (31-29) on Saturday in Rome: “Afterwards, we foiled”, he regretted.

“Italy deserves its victory, we really have to congratulate this great team. After the try which was refused, we foiled, we conceded too many penalties, the team felt a lot of frustration and it did not manage to get out of this frustration,” Townsend explained at a press conference. .

Scotland, which led 22-16 at the break, scored a try at the start of the second half, but it was canceled by the video referee for obstruction of a Scottish player on an Italian player.

“What is really a shame is that in the first twenty minutes we produced our best rugby in this Tournament, but we need to be more concentrated,” he added.

“We didn’t just make one mistake, there were plenty of things that didn’t work when we returned from the locker room,” admitted third row Rory Darge.

Despite this defeat, the 8th against Italy, which had not won in the Tournament since March 2022, Townsend “believes in this group”: “I think we can beat anyone, but if we deprived of the ball, as happened today in the second half, we can be beaten,” he regretted.

“This loss will not define this team. Every time we lose, it’s a big disappointment, it’s part of our sport, we’ll have to be better next weekend against Ireland, the best team in the world,” he warned.

Before this defeat, Scotland, 2nd in the standings with eleven points, had won two of their first three matches (27-26 against Wales in Cardiff and 30-21 against England at home, defeat against France 20 -16).

She could aim for the final victory for the first time since 1999, but Ireland, leader with a full card of 15 points, is now in a very favorable position.

“We can still win the Triple Crown (victory against the other British nations, editor’s note), it’s a huge motivation, we will do everything to worry Ireland and finish this tournament well,” he assured.