THE Scotland players could not hide their hurt after the demoralising manner of their defeat to Italy left them with the Six Nations wooden spoon.
Greig Laidlaw, the Edinburgh scrum-half turned stand-off, who made his first start for Scotland in the No 10 jersey against Wales, was close to tears.
“That [feeling] is as poor as it’s ever been,” he said. “There are no two ways about it. We’ve let ourselves down, let each other down, let the jersey down and let everybody back home down.
“We talked during the week about how, in Italy’s last six games, they’ve been in the game, winning or drawing at half-time, but we couldn’t get the game going, couldn’t get tempo and things just escalated from there.”
No 8 David Denton said: “It’s a steep learning curve for all of us, not just the younger lads. It’s been a really disappointing tournament. We showed plenty of promise so to come out of it with nothing is really hard to take.
“I understand the people of Scotland will be disappointed and hurting, but I hope they understand how we are feeling as players. This has been the toughest experience I’ve ever had both emotionally and mentally.
“First and foremost we are here to win and good players are judged on how many games they win. You remember the winners. The best players in the world are always on the winning team and that’s where I want to be.
“We are really disappointed with our last two games because we haven’t performed. In Ireland our defence wasn’t there. Against Italy we defended well considering how much ball they had, but to win rugby matches you need the ball and we just didn’t get that in Italy.
“Every player in the squad has to be able to stand up and say it’s not good enough. You need to confront each other and we’re learning to do that. When the bombs have been going off these past few weeks I’ve seen people stand up to each other.”