THE final match of Scotland’s tour from hell may have been an embarrassing 55-6 defeat by South Africa, but the players are convinced that it is only a hiccup on the path to a better future.
With so many changes and so many international novices in their side, it was always a tough ask but they feel that Vern Cotter, the new head coach, is beginning to make inroads.
“We are going in the right direction,” said Henry Pyrgos, the scrum-half and one of those who enhanced his standing with his performance. “It is great to get three wins on the tour. South Africa was disappointing, obviously, but to beat Argentina away, as well as the USA and Canada was great.
“Since the summer tour last year, a lot of new players have come in and there are a lot of young guys and guys without many caps. Vern coming in as coach has been a positive so hopefully we can start to build.
“It was an inexperienced side and coming to South Africa is one of the hardest places anyone can come. It has been a great experience and now we need to make sure we go back home and take full advantage of the lessons we have learned.”
That, by and large, seems to reflect the feeling throughout the squad. The final game, with the odds stacked against Scotland, was always going to be tough and while they were bitterly disappointed at the way it turned out, it can be seen as a one-off blip – not a crisis in the making.
Now, more of the Scots have an idea of what it takes to survive at this level and according to Adam Ashe, who had been plucked off a scholarship training programme in New Zealand to start for Scotland before he has started for Glasgow Warriors, that can boost confidence.
“It was fantastic to get the full 80 minutes,” he said. “I was disappointed with the result but I can take the lessons from that and move on to the next game.”