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Hogg rues missed opportunities after Scotland defeat

Hogg rues missed opportunities after Scotland defeat

Hogg rues missed opportunities after Scotland defeat

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg believes his side have potentially gone “back a step” after their 31-16 defeat to Ireland in their Autumn Nations Cup finale in Dublin.

Three penalties from Jaco Van der Walt on his debut saw the visitors lead 9-3 in the first half before Duncan Taylor was shown yellow for a deliberate knock on.

Keith Earls crossed just before the break to put Ireland 11-9 ahead before Cian Healy and Earls added further scores following the restart to extend the hosts’ advantage.

While Duhan Van der Merwe responded with a fabulous solo score, the boot of Ross Byrne left Scotland’s slim hopes of a comeback in tatters as Ireland clinched third place.

And Hogg was left to rue a series of missed opportunities for his side to make their first-half dominance count, suggesting the result was a blow to their progress.

“We worked incredibly hard for the last couple of months and we’ve had a lot of opportunities to get better. Today we’ve potentially gone back a step,” the full-back said.

“On the whole we’re pretty pleased with what we’ve done. But we’ve still got a lot to learn. It’s tough to take at the minute, but I feel we’re on the right track to where we want to be.”

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Scotland had been on a five-match winning run in all competitions before their defeat to Group B rivals Les Bleus at Stade de France in Round 2 of the Autumn Nations Cup.

Their defeat to Ireland means Scotland finish the tournament in fourth but while it was not the result they wanted, Gregor Townsend took encouragement from his side’s first-half display.

“I thought for 30-35 minutes we played very well,” he said.

“But the five minutes before and after half-time they got away from us. Ireland played well, they really upped their game in the second half.

“We feel we’ve made progress, and had a new team nearly every week given injuries but it’s been a good opportunity to build depth.”

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