Our Scotland stars were left to reflect on what could have been after departing the World Cup at the hands of hosts Japan on Sunday afternoon.
Cupar’s Peter and George Horne, both former Bell Baxter pupils, plus Jamie Ritchie from Strathkinnes all played prominent parts in the nation’s failed bid to reach the quarter finals.
After routing Russia in their previous game, thanks to the younger Horne’s hat-trick, Scotland faced hosts Japan in a Sunday showdown but came up short, losing 28-21.
George Horne grabbed the headlines for his performance against Russia while Ritchie was, for many, Scotland’s man of the match against Japan.
But ultimately things ended in disappointment and Ritchie and his team mates packed their bags after not doing enough to see off the hosts.
Reflecting on the final game, and the tournament as a whole, former Howe of Fife man Ritchie said: “Any test match that you leak 28 points is going to be a tough one to win.
“The start of the second half we showed what we’re really about.
“I thought we started really well, that sort of first 10-15 minutes we came out of the blocks firing, we put them on the back foot with our defence.
“They started getting quick ball, they started using the short side quite a lot and were getting yards on us.”
Scotland looked to be getting back into things after an early second half try.
“After that try (Scotland’s first in the second half) Greg (Laidlaw) pulled us in and said, ‘We’re all out attack here, we’re attacking in defence, and we’re attacking with the ball in hand.
“If we’d played like that for 80 minutes it’d be a different story, but we didn’t, and I’m afraid that’s the nature of the beast in these knockout tournaments.
“If you don’t play well for 80 minutes, you’re on your way home.
They (Japan) play a great brand of rugby.”