THERE is no doubt that when Andy Robinson finally decided to give youngsters like Stuart Hogg a chance to shine at international level, and brought in Mike Blair to partner Greig Laidlaw at half back, it made a difference.
Many were wanting this to happen against England, but now that it has, there has been a marked improvement in Scotland’s performance.
Every single Scottish player gave everything on Sunday, and the sell-out crowd at Murrayfield got right behind them. To score two excellent tries against the World Cup finalists was a massive leap forward.
And what a day it was for the Borders. A third of the team came from this region and three of them scored.
Hogg, on his first start, scorched in for a try early on. It was stuff that dreams were made of and there was a sense of justice after what happened in Cardiff.
The 19-year-old’s performance throughout was fearless. You can imagine what Bill McLaren would have made of the teenager!
Scotland dominated possession and territory – as they have done in their two previous games – but cruelly in the first half, a broken leg for Rory Lamont, a dead leg for Blair and a head-knock for Laidlaw saw us lose three of our backline stars and it allowed the French back in the game.
France went into the lead at the start of the second half, but then some brilliant work by John Barclay in stealing the ball from French possession put Nick De Luca in the clear.
Richie Vernon was on hand to take the pass and feed it out to Lee Jones, who dived in for his first try for Scotland.
New cap Duncan Weir’s first touch of the ball was a faultless conversion kick and we were very much back in the match.
The team showed guts and determination in abundance, but a missed tackle by Jones led to a try for Maxime Medard, who went in under the posts.
Beauxis converted and kicked a drop goal to give France a six-point cushion and there is no more experienced team in the world than the French at closing a game down.
We all want success for Scotland and the results statistics are appalling, but we are on a long journey and must now stick it out.
At the start of the season I was personally giving Robinson to the end of the campaign to get results. I have revised that.
I now think we should extend that to next season’s Six Nations because I really do think we are progressing.
Others will disagree, but to bring in a new coach now would be a backward move.
We are not being thrashed and we have been very unlucky at times, and bad refereeing hasn’t helped.
I really do believe we can build on Sunday and the wins must surely start to come soon.