‘Grumpy’ Scots will respond

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw

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Soft moments cost Scots – Laidlaw

Head coach Vern Cotter insists Scotland will use the disappointment of a ninth straight Six Nations defeat to break their losing run against Italy.

The Scots led 13-10 at half-time and saw a 16-13 lead overturned in a five-minute second-half spell to lose 27-23.

“I don’t like losing,” Cotter told BBC Sport. “There will be information to be taken from that game that will just make us a little bit grumpier.

“We will use that to push for our win. We need to keep improving.”

Scotland will travel to Rome, scene of their last Six Nations victory two years ago, to face Italy in a fortnight on 27 February.

Their first win in Cardiff since 2002 looked a distinct possibility for an hour, Tommy Seymour’s excellent early try and three Greig Laidlaw penalties helping them into a 16-13 lead.

Tommy Seymour’s 12th try in 24 Tests had helped Scotland into a 13-10 half-time lead

But tries from Jamie Roberts, after 65 minutes, and George North after 70 proved decisive, Duncan Taylor’s late try coming too late to alter the outcome.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” said captain Laidlaw. “We are getting closer. There were still so many good things but just a couple of soft tries really cost us.

“It shows we can score tries ourselves and we got a nice one at the end there. But a couple of things went awry and we just gave them the game.

“Credit to Wales, they were the better team on the day, but we have to look at ourselves. We can improve on our line-out. At this level you need your line-out ball to keep the squeeze on.

“We got field position but then lost our line-out and gave a couple of daft penalties away, which let them off the hook. It all adds up in the end.”

Cotter, who is still waiting for his first Six Nations win after seven attempts, added: “We can’t do much about this game now, but we can certainly focus on the next one.

“The attitude was better and if we keep developing that and take it onto the field, hopefully that will allow us to stop the opposition scoring and score more points ourselves.”

Analysis – Former Scotland captain Andy Nicol:

“Scotland are getting closer. There was a lot of good play but they just fell out of the game for that 15-20 minutes in the second half. Wales used their power players like Jamie Roberts and George North to good effect and Scotland were powerless to stop them.

“They fought back with Duncan Taylor’s try but it was just too little, too late. Questions have to be asked of the Scotland defence for the North try – it was a system error. But it was a much better performance and there is so much more to take from this than the England game.

“They were able to express themselves and play their offloading game, and did it very effectively. Ultimately they came up short, but Wales are a very tough side to beat.

“If Scotland play like that and extend it for the full 80 minutes, they can definitely beat Italy and France.”

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