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Tomorrow’s Game Will Define Scotland’s Season

Peter McGunnigal reflects on why last week’s loss against England did not define this Scotland team’s season, but how tomorrow’s result could.

Sometimes it really hurts being a Scotland fan, last Saturday was just one of those days.

I was hoping I’d wake up this morning and it would somehow be better, I would have enough perspective to “cognitively reframe” the Twickenham massacre. The bitter disappointment is going nowhere. You can call it a reality check, a learning experience or just a comprehensive beating.

England were the exception, not the rule

Whichever way you look at it, there have been a few bad defeats in the last few years but none that felt this bad. The World Cup Quarter Final was painful due to the result and circumstances, but I don’t think there was real expectation beforehand. We had struggled past giant-slayers Japan and had a major scare against Samoa in Newcastle.

Fast forward a year and a half and the eternal Scottish hope is actually founded on something. We’d beaten Argentina, backed up our performance against the Wallabies with a single point loss – then came the 6 Nations. The opening win over Ireland – yet still we held our hopes at bay. That was until the Welsh victory a fortnight ago. Even the most cynical Scot struggled to hold back their positivity.

The Argentina victory was the turning point

Up until the England game it felt like we were building towards something. Hell, a few of us dared to dream of winning the whole damn thing. Hope was at the highest it’s been in years, then it was ripped away in the most awful way.

I’m not going to dissect the game, I don’t think it’s necessary, we all know how bad it was and how awful it felt. What I am going to do is throw some of that cognitive reframing out there and see what sticks.

Let’s take that pain and drive something positive from it. Let’s not have our entire season be defined by England, as it has so often in the past.

This season we have played 7 and won 4. This Saturday should see us go 5 from 8, that would our best win ratio in a very very long time.

In fact, 3 wins would be our BEST EVER 6 Nations. It may also, depending on other results, actually result in a 2nd place finish. Again that would be our BEST 6 Nations ever!

That’s not to mention the small fact that we’re now 5th in the world. Let’s use that phrase again; it’s a BEST EVER for Scotland.

I’m not getting ahead of myself, Italy are going to be tough on Saturday and whatever we’re missing some key players. You can guarantee that they’ll be looking to recreate the sort of headline winning tactics that grabbed the rugby world’s attention when they played England.

Every year, without fail, they target our fixture as their best chance and, as we all know, it’s oft paid off. Even with all of that, we should go into this game confident and expecting a win.

As a crowd we should all demand a performance on Saturday. This is a good team and one bad performance doesn’t change that. We are ranked 10 places above our opposition and we are right to expect a win as we would against the likes of Samoa, Tonga or Georgia (who are all ranked above Italy). What we cannot do though is sit quietly and wait for it to happen.

Don’t let the England defeat rob us of our voice.

Murrayfield has been a truly wonderful place to be this season; noisy, vibrant and full of life. It’s Vern’s last game, we are fighting for our best ever 6 Nations and a World Rugby ranking that puts us in a great position for the Rugby World Cup draw in May.

We should celebrate the achievements of this team. Let’s give Vern the rousing send off he deserves and welcome Toonie with open arms.

Securing 3 home wins will make OUR MURRAYFIELD an intimidating place to come to next season when we have the best in the world coming to call.

On Saturday, sing your heart out, take pride in your team and cheer the boys to victory and celebrate a great season. Goodness knows we deserve it.


What do you think?


    • England were immense. If they play that way all the time, they’d be as good as the All Blacks. Scotland didn’t play badly, they were just up against a better team! The best England performance ever, in my opinion.

  1. Watching from home but shouting loud, was at twickenham last week boys just weren’t there but every confidence that they will give Vern the send off he deserves as will our fans xx

  2. A BP win and a Welsh non-BP win and we’d be second (assuming England do the slam) – not a bad campaign – we can just forget about last week ! 🙂

  3. I’ll be at home watching super Saturday. But may be hiding behind couch if we haven’t sorted things from last week… I have faith but I have very little nails left lads. Don’t make me eat ma elbows..

  4. Vern should be staying. What this guy has done for the national team has been outstanding. If you think about all the coach’s we have had for the last decade, none have achieved what vern has. He’s a Scottish rugby legend.

  5. it would be good to see a reverse from last weeks result – rember Italy have no win and they have their pride as well – so they may be heartened by our frailites that were shown last week – and christ sake try to keep this referee on our side for this game – discipline works

  6. In Edinburgh now. Can’t wait for the match tomorrow. Both sides play with passion, so although I obviously want a Scotland win it will be a great game whatever the outcome.

  7. Vern asked for 2 wins,lets not bother about the score 2moro “I know he hates that” and just celebrate the man for what he brought back to the Scottish team and what he’s handing over to Gregor to try and improve

  8. It won’t define anything as Italy are whipping boys and Scotland 27 point favorites. If we can’t beat them it will be nothing short of an embrassment !

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