Shock Scotland display deserves criticism from fans, media and coaches – Townsend

Shock Scotland display deserves criticism from fans, media and coaches - Townsend
Scotland captain John Barclay at full-time in Cardiff

Head coach Gregor Townsend says Scotland’s woeful display in the opening Six Nations defeat to Wales came as “a shock”.

The Scots were dismantled 34-7 by a rampant Welsh side that made a mockery of many pre-match suggestions that the visitors went in as favourites.

And Townsend believes his team let down the Scotland fans.

“We know that was well short of what is required playing for Scotland,” he said.

“We should be criticised for today’s performance, be it from you guys [media], the supporters who were down here or from ourselves.

“We come together a few times in a season and now, just over two months after we played Australia, the shock is that we played so badly given that we played so well in that last game. But we have four games, and the next one comes up quickly, and we have to be much, much better.”

The Scots never recovered from two quickfire tries in the opening quarter, the first of which came when Ali Price’s loose pass was intercepted by Gareth Davies and the Wales number nine galloped home.

Leigh Halfpenny amassed 24 points – including two tries – and Steff Evans scored to secure the bonus point for Warren Gatland’s men.

Pete Horne’s late try did little to numb the pain of a crushing defeat for Scotland.

‘Miles below what we need to do’

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Townsend believes his players struggled to recover from the double blow of those early tries.

“The first 15 minutes was a bizarre Test match as it was so open,” said Townsend after his first Six Nations match as Scotland head coach.

“It wasn’t what you’d describe as a Six Nations game and we needed to be more accurate. The early try Wales got sapped our confidence and gave them momentum.

“We allowed Wales too much possession. There was an element of chasing the game in the second half and we needed to start the second half with a response.

“It was miles below what we need to do in the jersey and in this championship.”

Captain John Barclay struggled to explain why his side performed so poorly.

“It’s hard to speak after a defeat like that,” said Barclay, who was up against 10 of his Scarlets team-mates in the Welsh side.

“It’s pretty raw. A lot of it is the mental side of the game. We have to look at it, where we went wrong and turn it around. And a lot of these things have to be fixed off the pitch, before we get on it.

“Look at it, do the analysis, did we do everything we should have done? We are a straight bunch of guys, everyone is honest, no one is going to hide behind anything.”

Scotland must regroup in time for next weekend's home game with France

Davis Cup 2018: Germany and France take 2-1 leads heading into final day of ties

Davis Cup 2018: Germany and France take 2-1 leads heading into final day of ties
Jan-Lennard Struff and Tim Puetz

Germany took a 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup World Group tie against Australia after Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff won a tough five-set doubles rubber.

The duo beat John Peers and Matt Ebden 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 in three hours and 17 minutes in Brisbane.

German world number five Alexander Zverev will play Nick Kyrgios in the first singles rubber on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson gave the United States an unassailable 3-0 lead in Serbia.

The Americans beat Nikola Milojevic and Miljan Zekic 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 7-5 6-4 in Nis to reach April’s quarter-finals, while Kazakhstan also secured their place in the last eight after their doubles victory over Switzerland in Astana.

Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov defeated Marc-Andrea Huesler and Luca Margaroli 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-3.

Defending champions France and fourth seeds Croatia took 2-1 leads after victories in their respective doubles matches.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert joined up with Nicolas Mahut for France to beat the Netherlands’ Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-2) in Albertville.

Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig came from two sets down to give hosts Croatia a 2-1 lead against Canada, defeating 45-year-old Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 2-6 3-6 6-4 7-5 6-2 in Osijek.

There was also a doubles win for Italy’s Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini, who beat beat Japan’s Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama in Morioka to go 2-1 up.

Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics and Attila Balazs held off a fightback from Belgium’s Joris de Loore and Ruben Bemelmans to win 6-3 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 4-6 7-5 in Liege and keep the tie alive with the hosts’ lead cut to 2-1.

West Brom pay emotional tribute to Regis before loss to Saints

West Brom pay emotional tribute to Regis before loss to Saints
Mario Lemina shoots for his goal

Southampton ended a 12-game winless run and moved out of the Premier League relegation zone with a crucial victory over fellow strugglers West Brom.

The Baggies celebrated the life of former striker Cyrille Regis before kick-off on an emotional afternoon at The Hawthorns, and the home side went ahead after just four minutes as Ahmed Hegazi headed in Chris Brunt’s corner.

But the Saints responded well and deservedly equalised when Mario Lemina smashed a 20-yard strike into the top corner in the 40th minute.

Jack Stephens then put Southampton in front minutes later with an excellent looping header from James Ward-Prowse’s corner.

Ward-Prowse added the visitors’ third 10 minutes into the second half by firing in a low free-kick from 20 yards but West Brom pulled a goal back through Salomon Rondon’s header.

The Baggies – who handed Daniel Sturridge a full debut following his loan move from Liverpool – pushed for an equaliser but Southampton held on for a first Premier League win since 26 November.

West Brom remain bottom of the table, four points adrift of safety.

A big win at the bottom

Southampton’s long wait for a victory had seen them fall to 18th despite taking draws in five of their last seven matches.

Pressure had begun to grow on manager Mauricio Pellegrino but victory sees his side climb four places to 14th, two points clear of danger.

The win was a deserved one, with the visitors showing greater composure on the ball, particularly in midfield, and creating the majority of the game’s best chances.

Their failure to convert more of those openings could have been costly, but they defended well in the final 15 minutes to deny the Baggies any meaningful chances.

The result is a desperate one for Alan Pardew’s West Brom, who started the game with a three-point gap to 19th place and now see that increase by a further point.

They have now dropped 18 points from winning positions this season and have only won once in 12 league games since Pardew took charge.

New boys start but are not decisive

Daniel Sturridge shot

England striker Sturridge, on loan at the Baggies until the end of the season, was not the only key January signing to make a full debut in the game.

Southampton’s record signing Guido Carrillo, a £19m arrival from Monaco, had made substitute appearances in the Saints’ two previous games but the striker was given his first start at The Hawthorns.

Both Sturridge and Carrillo were lively before being substituted in the second half but it was Argentine who had the only shot on target from either player and could claim the better display.

He produced an excellent near-post run to meet a Ryan Bertrand cross with a header bound for the bottom corner before Ben Foster intervened with a fine save.

Sturridge’s best chance came in the first half when he was played in behind by Chris Brunt but he fired over.

In his 62 minutes on the pitch the 28-year-old showed some good link-up play with strike partner Rondon, but at times lacked sharpness – perhaps unsurprising since this was just his sixth league start this season.

Pardew even admitted afterwards that Sturridge is “not quite on it at moment”, but it is clear he will be crucial if the Baggies are to avoid a first Premier League relegation since 2009.

Still a ‘special day’ for the Baggies

Cyrille Regis tribute
line

A “special day but not a special result” was how Pardew described the afternoon, referring to the moving tributes paid to Regis before the start of West Brom’s first home game since his death last month.

Regis, widely credited with inspiring a generation of black players, died on 14 January, aged 59.

He was a pioneer for black footballers in the game when he played alongside Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson at The Hawthorns in the 1970s and 80s.

Regis, who scored 112 goals in 297 appearances for the club, was the third black player to be capped by England at the highest level, after his team-mate Cunningham and Nottingham Forest defender Viv Anderson.

Before kick-off a host of former West Brom players and managers, including Ron Atkinson and Bryan Robson, as well as other notable players such as Ian Wright, Andrew Cole and Dion Dublin, joined Regis’ son Robert and his nephew, ex-West Brom striker Jason Roberts, on the pitch.

Following a number of speeches, a video of Regis’ career highlights, accompanied by Frank Sinatra song The Impossible Dream, was shown. West Brom’s players also wore commemorative shirts and a minute’s applause was held.

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A ‘painful’ defeat – manager reaction

West Brom boss Alan Pardew: “It’s a painful one for us because Southampton looked like they had a little more energy and fresher players in the middle which showed. We had players who had been playing two games in three days and looked a little leggy and it was unlike us to concede through two set-plays.

“It was a shame because it was a special day in a lot of ways but not a special result and no matter how much we huffed and puffed we just couldn’t get back into it.

“Our fans will want to see something from us, we have a tough game against Chelsea and then a run of games where we have a chance to correct our position.”

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino speaking to Match of the Day: “We needed this victory, for many reasons, but most important one is to believe what we can do on the pitch.

“We are happy with that today, the Premier League is tough every game, every week and everything can change. Now we celebrate this and it will be massive to increase our confidence.

“It wasn’t easy, they scored really quick but we played with personality, played the ball on the ground and finding space between the lines.”

Man of the match – Mario Lemina (Southampton)

Mario Lemina

West Brom’s dismal run – the best stats

  • West Brom have picked up just one win from their last 24 Premier League games (D11 L12).
  • Southampton secured their first Premier League win in 13 attempts, having previously lost five and drawn seven.
  • Since his Premier League debut in August 2008, Chris Brunt has provided 31 assists from set plays, more than any other player.
  • Mario Lemina, who scored his first ever Premier League goal, is the third player from Gabon to score a goal in the competition after Daniel Cousin and Didier Ndong.
  • Ahmed Hegazi scored his first Premier League goal since netting on his debut in the competition back on the opening weekend versus Bournemouth, ending a run 24 games without one.
  • Jack Stephens has scored in consecutive league games for the first time in his career.
  • James Ward-Prowse has been directly involved in four goals in his last two away Premier League apps (three goals, one assist) as many as in previous 28 combined.
  • Alan Pardew – who managed 64 games for Southampton in all competitions between August 2009 and August 2010 – lost his first home league match against the Saints as a manager (P6 W3 D2 L1).

What’s next?

West Brom’s next league fixture sees them travel to Chelsea on Monday, 12 February (20:00 GMT) while Southampton play Liverpool a day earlier (16:30 GMT).

Line-ups

West Brom

  • 1Foster
  • 25Dawson
  • 23McAuley
  • 26Hegazi
  • 2NyomSubstituted forMcCleanat 77′minutes
  • 10PhillipsBooked at 90mins
  • 5YacobSubstituted forBurkeat 62′minutes
  • 18BarryBooked at 22mins
  • 11Brunt
  • 15SturridgeSubstituted forRodriguezat 62′minutes
  • 9Rondón

Substitutes

  • 13Myhill
  • 14McClean
  • 17Burke
  • 19Rodriguez
  • 28Field
  • 34Harper
  • 56Jameson

Southampton

  • 13McCarthy
  • 2Soares
  • 5Stephens
  • 6Hoedt
  • 21BertrandBooked at 90mins
  • 14Romeu
  • 18Lemina
  • 16Ward-Prowse
  • 11TadicSubstituted forRedmondat 88′minutes
  • 19BoufalSubstituted forHøjbjergat 85′minutes
  • 9CarrilloSubstituted forLongat 75′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Yoshida
  • 7Long
  • 8Davis
  • 20Gabbiadini
  • 22Redmond
  • 23Højbjerg
  • 44Forster
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
25,911

Match Stats

Home TeamWest BromAway TeamSouthampton
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home9
Away13
Shots on Target
Home3
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away7
Fouls
Home12
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Southampton 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Southampton 3.

Attempt saved. Nathan Redmond (Southampton) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Shane Long.

Foul by Shane Long (Southampton).

Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Mario Lemina (Southampton) because of an injury.

Booking

Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Mario Lemina (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion).

Booking

Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.

Mario Lemina (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gareth Barry (West Bromwich Albion).

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Nathan Redmond replaces Dusan Tadic.

Offside, Southampton. Dusan Tadic tries a through ball, but Shane Long is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg replaces Sofiane Boufal.

Foul by Shane Long (Southampton).

Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Shane Long (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Cédric Soares with a cross.

Dusan Tadic (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion).

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Craig Dawson.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James McClean replaces Allan Nyom.

Foul by James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).

Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Shane Long replaces Guido Carrillo.

Jack Stephens (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion).

Goal!

Goal! West Bromwich Albion 2, Southampton 3. Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Chris Brunt with a cross following a corner.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Cédric Soares.

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Allan Nyom (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt missed. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Sofiane Boufal (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion).

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Craig Dawson.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Oliver Burke replaces Claudio Yacob.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Jay Rodriguez replaces Daniel Sturridge.

Alex McCarthy (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion).

goal