Scotland forward Richie Gray claims Scotland were not smart enough to cope with going a man down against rampant Wales.
The Dark Blues ended their RBS Six Nations campaign in utter humiliation as Warren Gatland’s men handed them their worst-ever defeat in the competition.
The 51-3 demolition job saw the home side at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff run in seven tries – six of which came after Stuart Hogg was stupidly and needlessly sent off for crashing a shoulder into Dan Biggar’s face in the 23rd minute.
Instead of making it a damage-limitation exercise, the Scots crumbled as they allowed doubles from George North and Jamie Roberts as well as scores from Taulupe Faletau and Rhodri Williams to compound an already bleak picture following Liam Williams’ opener.
Castres lock Gray said: “It was very tough to take. We went down to 14 men but even then we should not have conceded as much as we did.I can’t fault the boys for effort and heart but we should have played a little smarter. We need to get the details right when situations like that arise. It’s a very sour note to finish the championship on. Everyone in the changing room is hurt.
“The scoreboard doesn’t look the best but everyone fought hard and never gave in. We can take pride from that.”
The victory was Wales’ biggest ever against Scotland – and surpassed the 51-9 drubbing dished out to the visitors by France in 2003, their previous worst margin of defeat in the Five or Six Nations.
And Gray admitted the Cardiff calamity would leave a black stain on the CVs of everyone involved.
“We are all embarrassed by that result,” he said. “At this level, to get 50 put against you just should not happen. After the game, the heads were all down in the changing room. We wanted to put in a better performance than we did but we feel like we have let everyone down.”
Hogg, meanwhile, issued a public apology following his sending off.
Scotland had already lost their captain Kelly Brown through injury before Hogg became only the third Scotland international player to be sent off in a Test match after Nathan Hines against the USA in 2002 and Scott Murray against Wales four years later.
In a statement posted on the official Scottish Rugby Union website, Hogg expressed deep remorse for his actions.
“I would like to apologise to my team-mates, the Scotland management and all Scotland supporters for what happened. I have let people down,” Hogg said. I have said sorry in person to Dan Biggar and apologised to the referee Jerome Garces. I always try to play hard and fair, and what happened was out of character for me. Once again, I am very sorry.”
Hogg will now face a disciplinary hearing, with the prospect of a ban for his foul play.
Saturday’s defeat was the final kick in the teeth for the Scottish support after a wretched campaign which included a dismal 28-6 defeat in Dublin and mortifying 20-0 loss to England.
Interim head coach Scott Johnson – in is last game in charge – did his best not to heap further flak on his battered squad. He said: “I won’t question the character of the boys – I just won’t do it. They’re tough lads and their character is undeniable. We said at half-time if we can just keep hold of the ball and just work at attacking their uncertain edge, and I thought we showed resolve there. Wales are a quality side with good players and they moved the ball with good skills. Fair play to Wales they scored some lovely tries, but it was a tough old day.”
Scrum-half Greig Laidlaw admitted the players had let Johnston down. “As a group of players we are extremely disappointed to let him go on this one,” said the scrum-half. “He’s been good to us and he deserved a lot better, so we’re absolutely gutted with the way has turned out.”
Wales: Tries: L Williams, North 2, Roberts 2, Faletau, R Williams. Cons: Biggar 4, Hook. Pens: Biggar 2.
Scotland: Pens: Laidlaw.
Wales: L Williams, Cuthbert, Davies, Roberts, North, Biggar, M Phillips, Jenkins, Owens, R Jones, Charteris, A Jones, Lydiate, Warburton, Faletau. Replacements: Hook for L Williams (63), Priestland for Biggar (63), R Williams for M Phillips (55), James for Jenkins (58), Hibbard for Owens (58), A Jones for R Jones (58), Ball for Charteris (63), Tipuric for Lydiate (55).
Scotland: Hogg, Fife, Dunbar, Scott, Evans, Weir, Laidlaw, Grant, Lawson, Cross, R Gray, Hamilton, Wilson, Brown, Denton. Replacements: Taylor for Fife (67), Cusiter for Laidlaw (62), Dickinson for Grant (46), Ford for Lawson (46), Swinson for Hamilton (55), Strokosch for Brown (9). Not Used: Murray, Cuthbert.
Sent Off: Hogg (23).
Ref: Jerome Garces (France).