GREGOR Townsend was seeing red last night about French referee Pascal Guezere’s reluctance to penalise persistent Welsh indiscipline with a yellow card during the 18-11 Six Nations defeat at Murrayfield – but said there were signs in the performance that Scotland could travel to Twickenham next week with hopes of recording their first win there for 36 years.

Despite a storming second-half fightback which featured a try on his first start for Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham, Gregor Townsend’s side ultimately fell short against a Welsh side who will take on Ireland next week in a bid to complete the 12th Grand Slam in their history. Scotland are at the home of the RFU on the same day, bidding to win there for the first time since March 1983. One win at this year’s Six Nations or not, Townsend feels they can travel there with genuine hopes of retaining the Calcutta Cup that they famously won last year.

“We would have obviously liked to have won that game,” said Townsend. “We had errors in that second half - probably caused by the defence's pressure. But we also had chances. Five penalties in the 22, to not get anything from that seems like their indiscipline was rewarded and our pressure wasn't rewarded.

“Was I surprised there was no yellow card?” he added. “Yes. The game is over now so nothing ever really changes on that. But if teams are giving away penalties close to their own try line through cynical play, whether it is in the lineout drive or by not rolling away in the tackle area then you expect that pressure close to your try line to lead to yellow cards. That is international rugby, how it is refereed throughout the world.

“What we showed today against the No 3 team in the world, if we build on that performance we can be a match for any team in the world. We know how England are at home, what a strong team they are, but records are there to be broken. And that can be the case if we play like we did today and improve those areas close to the try line.”

Scotland have been plagued by injuries during this campaign and yesterday’s match was no different. Considering he lost his starting back three during the course of this attritional contest – full back Blair Kinghorn and wings Graham and Tommy Seymour – it was no surprise to hear Townsend speaking of the pride he took in his players’ second half performance. He was keeping his cards close to his chest as to whether Stuart Hogg or Sean Maitland would come into contention for the England match but said he expected to have a strong squad to choose from.

“Tommy got hit in the ribs. Blair rolled his ankle and….third one….Darcy and Byron [McGuigan] both got whacks as well, one in the ribs and one in the shoulder/neck area. So there were a lot of knocks today.

“We’ll see on Maitland. He is recovering from his heel injury, so him and Chris Harris we will see on Monday. He [Hogg] is not back to full training so he would have to make some progress over the weekend to come into consideration.”

“I am very proud of the players,” Townsend added. “We had some adjustments with players getting injured and then we didn’t defend well in the second quarter. But in the first quarter and the second half we played well, I believe we were the better team, the team that dominated possession and got in behind the opposition defence. So I am really proud of the players putting on that performance, in front of the supporters who were really energised by the way we were playing against one of the best teams in the world. So pride is my strongest emotion and obviously frustration that we didn’t get the win. But we have a lot to build on after today’s game.”