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Hadden rues a wasted opportunity

Scotland's players show their disappointment at Murrayfield
Scotland's players were left dejected by defeat to Ireland at Murrayfield

Scotland coach Frank Hadden believes his side squandered a golden opportunity to stop Ireland's Six Nations title bandwagon.

Asked about the atmosphere in the dressing-room after the 22-15 defeat, Hadden said: "It's not great. We had the game by the scruff of the neck.

"The gap between the sides should have been greater in the first half.

"In the second half, Ireland did what they do very well, which is squeeze the life out of teams."

While Ireland now remain unbeaten and will aim for a Grand Slam against Wales, a different kind of pressure is on the Scotland coach for the final weekend.

Some pundits have suggested that Hadden must win at least two Six Nations matches to retain his post.

Next week is just one final opportunity to make a splash in this tournament

Scotland coach Frank Hadden

And, going into Scotland's final game of the championship, away to England next weekend, they have just one win - over Italy - so far, only their fourth win in the last 16 games.

"I've never, ever felt that kind of pressure because it's all about focusing on the performance and the training," said Hadden about speculation over his post.

"But I accept the discussion is inevitably going to be there because that's not enough matches won."

After the victory over Italy, Hadden had even gone as far as to suggest that his side had an outside chance of the title.

Now he believes that the match at Twickenham will give his players a chance to make amends for not taking an opportunity to beat Ireland.

"It's tough," said Hadden, whose side were 12-6 ahead after half an hour of play.

"It's just one final opportunity to make a splash in this tournament.

"I'm desperately disappointed with the second half, so it's a chance to put that right."

"After half-time, it was a tale of elementary errors as far as we're concerned.

"The thing about Ireland is that they are remarkably error-free."

Hadden believes Scotland lost key line-outs in the second half and Jason White accepted his share of the blame for that and errors he made at kick-offs.

"Kick-offs, I put my hand up," said the lock. "I made two many basic mistakes. Nobody's fault apart from myself."

Scotland lost captain Mike Blair to a back injury and also have concerns about winger Thom Evans, with a shoulder problem, and flanker Alasdair Strokosch, who injured his neck.

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see also
Scotland v Ireland match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Scotland v Ireland photos
14 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Pundits' verdict on Scotland v Ireland
14 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 15-22 Ireland
14 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 26-6 Italy
28 Feb 09 |  Scottish
France 22-13 Scotland
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 13-26 Wales
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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