WINGER wing Max Evans emerged from a surprise early appearance in Scotland’s 28-6 defeat by Ireland yesterday insisting that the team are capable of turning it around inside six days and winning the Calcutta Cup.
The Castres player is one of the few in this Scotland squad to have scored a try against England but he has not beaten them and after being thrust into the action at the Aviva Stadium, when Sean Maitland suffered an injury likely to rule him out next week, he said that it was vital this squad did not experience that again.
They flew out of Dublin last night having let a promising early performance against Ireland slip through a series of errors and failure to turn possession into points. It is a familiar story, but Evans said that it is not irreversible against an English team reeling from a late defeat in France.
“We have a six days turnaround and our backs are to the wall,” he said, “but we know that we can still do very well in this tournament if we go out there and beat England.
“What a buzz it would be to do that at Murrayfield. All the guys know that. I’ve played games at Murrayfield against England where I’ve felt throughout the whole game that we were going to beat them and we didn’t. I know that feeling, and I’m going to pass that on to the other guys who maybe haven’t had that experience yet, because I really want to beat them.”
Desire may not be enough if the team cannot overcome the naivety shown by what is an inexperienced midfield in Dublin, and while Matt Scott is expected to return to the starting line-up this week, Evans believes that the young trio of Duncan Weir, Duncan Taylor and Alex Dunbar will come through well.
“He [Johnson] said in there [dressing room] that there was an element of naivety in our game – parts where we looked like we could have beaten anyone and other parts where we were not very good – so it’s about consistency.
“Guys individually have to look at the areas of their game they can work on…but although those guys are young players they are playing week in week out in professional rugby and have been putting in good performances to get themselves the opportunity they had today.
“Obviously, this is on a different level, not just in terms of international rugby but also in this being the first Six Nations game for a few of them, but you have to deal with that.
“And they are just as frustrated as the rest of us. I don’t know if it’s just finishing. I tend to think of finishing as being about opening teams up and being there to dot the ball down.
“But this was about us getting ourselves in good areas and then not holding onto the ball, not putting them under pressure and tightening the screw, and that’s the really frustrating thing.
“It does whack the air out of you when you’ve put in a good shift and then just before you go in the score changes quite considerably. It affects you, but there was still a buzz in the dressing room and we came out very positive in the second half.
“We have to now look forward to England. This wasn’t the result we were after and not the performance we were after either.
“It’s alright losing a game if you’ve pushed the opposition to the wire and put in a good performance, but we didn’t do that today and that’s the real frustrating thing.”