Hooker Ross Ford insists Scotland must learn quickly from the scrummaging woes that proved costly when going down 28-18 to Wales in the RBS Six Nations rugby championship.
Even with a front row that contained the 67-times capped Ford and his fellow Lion, Euan Murray, the Scots appeared to be suckered into conceding a welter of penalties that ultimately proved their undoing.
With a trip to France looming on Saturday, Edinburgh star Ford, a former Scotland captain, said: “We have got to be smarter and able to cope. I think we have a good scrum. When it comes to pushing I think we are good. Technically we did not cope well.”
South African referee Craig Joubert penalised the Scots repeatedly for engaging early and even warned Ford twice that he faced a spell in the sin-bin, something that, understandably, resulted in the home side effectively conceding the ball.
“Wales are good at changing their emphasis. They are good at mucking teams about,” said Ford. “We knew what was coming. They do it to every team. They are good at breaking up the rhythm a wee bit.
“I spoke to the referee a few times. You need to agree with him and get him on your side. We gave him the wrong impression from the first couple of scrums and it just continued from there. We tried to do what the referee wanted but every time we did, something else would happen and we would end up on the wrong side.
“Wales were sharp in the way they would play. They muck about, drop the scrum, don’t take the hit. They are clever at that and referees fall for it at times.
“It’s never good to lose, but we didn’t give ourselves much of a chance. We allowed Wales to control the game quite well.
“But we are very frustrated. We would have liked to have built on the previous two wins. We can’t continue that sequence now but we can go to France and try and get a good performance in and put ourselves in a good position.”
It was not the first occasion in this Championship that Joubert has provoked controversy. In the previous round French coach Philippe St Andre was left perplexed by a series of decisions as his team went down to England at Twickenham.
Meanwhile, Scots second row Richie Gray has been ruled out of Saturday’s visit to Paris with a hamstring injury. Uncapped Edinburgh forward Grant Gilchrist is a possible replacement.