The day the nation’s dreams turned to ashes

It’s all been kicking off since the weekend, hasn’t it? English journalist Paul Hayward, clearly doesn’t mind a bit of sensationalism to boost readership.

He wrote in his Sunday Telegraph column that Scotland’s performance on Saturday was “pathetic” and an “absolute travesty” and that the Scots are “becoming an embarrassment to one of the sport’s great tournaments”.

He called on the 6 Nations to banish Scotland from playing in it. I doubt he suggested scrapping the Ashes when England’s cricket team slumped this year to an all-time low!

Yes, Scotland were bad on Saturday, and the week before against Ireland. Spectators who spent hard-earned cash to support the boys will not have had value for money.

The players know they didn’t step up and Scott Johnson came in for a lot of flack for his bizarre decisions, including substituting David Denton, perhaps Scotland’s best player against both Ireland and England. And how can you justify putting two players on after the interval only to pull them off two minutes later?

But let’s remember Scotland finished third in the 6 Nations last year with France finishing bottom. We may be looking rudderless at the moment – and the penalty count and line-out stats were woeful – but it can all be fixed. Even the best teams go through bad patches but eventually they find a purple patch.

I admit, finding that piece of purple anytime soon is hard to imagine, particularly with the disastrous way Scottish Rugby has coped with professionalism.

Big changes need to be made – we all know that – but parts of the SRU’s white paper outlining their vision for the future of Scottish Rugby weren’t embraced by many of the clubs and the whole thing has been put on ice.

Since adopting the policy of hiring overseas players and coaches, Scottish Rugby hasn’t exactly smothered itself in glory.

Perhaps it’s time for Scottish coaches to bring the passion to the table that foreigners can’t and spend the money saved to develop our own talent?

In the last two weeks the A team, the Under-20s, the Club XV, Scotland’s 7s squad and the Scottish Women have all been beaten soundly and the debate has already begun as to how we solve the problems.

District rugby is favoured by the likes of Roy Laidlaw, George Graham and John Rutherford – whose opinions are worth listening to. District Rugby works well for Ireland and they play no part in the IRB 7s circuit.

We could do worse than follow their model.