Sean Maitland says Scotland will continue to attack despite Ireland defeat
Scotland’s 22-year wait to record three straight wins in the Six Nations goes on.
Sean Maitland insists Scotland will not change their free-flowing brand of attack despite seeing another set of self-inflicted mistakes cost them in Dublin.
Gregor Townsend’s team had arrived at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday hoping to blow the NatWest 6 Nations title race wide open with a win.
However, Ireland were able to keep their Grand Slam charge on track after Peter Horne gifted Jacob Stockdale the opening score.
To compound matters, the Scots wasted three golden chances to score as Huw Jones, Stuart Hogg and the luckless Horne all messed up gilt-edged openings, allowing Joe Schmidt’s team to run up a 28-8 victory.
It was the second time this campaign that an intercepted try has derailed the Dark Blues. The wheels came off in Cardiff when Ali Price handed Gareth Davies an easy run-in against Wales in their Championship curtain-raiser.
Wing Maitland had sympathy for his unfortunate team-mate but says there is no reason to rip up Townsend’s flamboyant game plan.
“This is how we want to play,” said the Saracens flyer. “Horney will be gutted. We did talk about their winger who loves to come up looking for those intercepts.
“But we want to chuck the ball about amongst ourselves and have fun.
“Obviously that try was early in the game and after that we had a pretty obvious opportunity when Huw broke through and things could have been a lot different.
“Are the mistakes we made easily fixed? Yeah, big time. Obviously it sucks to lose but if we’re judging ourselves on the Wales game, the effort wasn’t there, we didn’t work hard, we didn’t play for each other.
“This time we might have lost by 20 but the effort was there, the energy too. It’s just a few little tweaks we need to fix.”
Much was expected of the Dark Blues this term following their impressive autumn exploits.
They recovered well from that false start at the Principality Stadium with wins over France and England – their first Calcutta Cup triumph in 10 years – but suffered another heavy defeat as they failed to match Ireland’s ruthlessness.
Scotland’s 22-year wait to record three straight wins in the tournament goes on, but Maitland feels his side will go into next week’s clash with Italy in Rome believing they have made major strides in recent months.
He said: “We’re not that far (from competing for titles). The Six Nations is obviously a really tough competition and it never gets any easier – especially playing three away games against quality teams.
“But we’re not far away. We’re working hard every week and it’s just the small things we need to fix. Hopefully we can sort that out come Italy.”
Maitland believes there is consolation for Scotland in the performance of Blair Kinghorn.
The Edinburgh wing marked his first international start with a try and could have had a couple more had Hogg and Horne’s passing skills not betrayed them.
“I thought he was quality,” said Maitland. “He could have had a hat-trick if things had gone our way.
“But he’s definitely a really exciting one for the future. He’s a big boy and he’s rapid – a big horse.
“If Tommy Seymour is back from injury next week there’s going to be some selection headaches but that’s good to have.”