Warren Gatland insists his Wales team showed too much respect to Scotland in the first half and it cost them victory in the Six Nations opener at Cardiff on Saturday evening.

The Wales head coach was proud of his players for the courage they showed to fight back from 27-0 down and come close to getting a victory with 26 unanswered points but they just couldn’t see it over the line to get a surprise comeback win following a disappointing first half where they really struggled.

They dominated the second half and felt they should have got more than their two bonus points out of it and Gatland admits a lot of teams and players would have thrown the towel in at half time and not delivered the performance his young squad did during the second period. It frustrated Scotland fans but it gave Wales supporters something to be encouraged by starting with a trip to face England next weekend with Steve Borthwick’s side also in a rebuilding phase and having narrowly beat Italy in their first match.

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He said: “I just said to the player that we gave Scotland too much respect in the first half. They were fully loaded and we’re a young team. To do what we did and be 27-0 down, other teams might have shown mischaracter and started looking to next week but we didn’t do that, they kept fighting and we put ourselves in a position to win the game.

“I thought it showed some real character from the team in the second half. We’ll review and look at the big moments. Test match rugby is about getting the simple things right and when your opportunities come you’ve got to be accurate, we weren’t that in the first half but we were better in the second.”