Scotland flanker Blair Cowan revealed that the squad “stuck tight” in the aftermath of the 15-9 defeat by England and is confident that things can be put right for the trip to Wales.
Cowan replaced John Barclay in the second half at BT Murrayfield on Saturday but could not prevent the by then dominant England pack helping their side see out the game.
“We stuck tight straight after the game, back to the hotel and got together for a couple of hours,” said the New Zealand-born London Irish forward. “We didn’t brush over it, we said what we needed to at the time and the boys spent the rest of the night together with partners and families.
“I dissect non-stop in my head what I thought about the game and my own performance. This morning [yesterday], everyone’s raring to get back into it. It’s not going to be full-on intense at training today but I think people will be pretty honest, get past that, figure what we did wrong, what we need to focus on to put things right and play better, then worry about Wales.”
Cowan had an eye on Wales’ opening 16-16 draw in Dublin on Sunday and is expecting another tough battle up front this weekend in Cardiff. “Yes, I went round to John Hardie’s to watch. I thought their back row went really well. [Toby] Faletau is pretty similar to [England No 8] Billy [Vunipola]. They use him a lot to get that go forward, he’s such a good carrier. Everyone knows the likes of [Sam] Warburton and others are very good players.
“Right now we have to dissect their game from the weekend and then focus on them.”
Cowan admitted the post-mortem of the Calcutta Cup defeat would include some frank discussions within the squad. “We put our hand up if we have faults,” he said. “No-one will ever point fingers at others and no-one needs to because we have that honesty. We sit down in our micro-groups, the forwards, set-piece, defence, we talk it out and look for the little things we did wrong.
“That’s one of our key things, we’re 100 per cent honest and it’s putting your hand up if you were wrong and then correct your own mistakes.”
Cowan has only experienced the Principality Stadium from the stands and is excited to return. He is also comfortable with the roof being closed if that happens. “I’ve seen a game there from the seats – Wales-All Blacks – and man it was bouncing, it was crazy,” he recalled. “The stadium gives you two options and yeah, definitely, I like the roof closed, especially if there’s gale-force winds and sleet. Everybody wants to see an open game and good rugby being played.”