Cotter: ’20 minutes with only 14 is tough’

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter admitted that two separate ten-minute spells down to 14 men were costly for his side in their loss to Ireland.

Flanker John Barclay and centre Alex Dunbar were yellow carded in each half respectively as Scotland were left chasing the game in Dublin, with their frustrations boiling over in a feisty final quarter.

Scotland's fetchers were kept quiet at the breakdown but despite that deficit in personnel Cotter was satisfied with his team's attitude.

"It wasn't a good start, we acknowledge that," said Cotter.

"They held the ball well and we couldn't get our hands back on it.

"Once we held the ball we managed to get them under pressure. But playing 20 minutes with only 14 on the field is tough. They still showed character and spirit, and scored some good tries.

"We accept criticism because it helps us move forward so we'll analyse it and have a good look.

"We're driven to improve. That's not just a story we're telling, that's something that is within the group and will continue to thrive.

"So if we take a half-step backwards to shift us forward we'll take it."