Looking forward to a bit of rugby realism

Stuart Cameron. Rugby Pundit.
Stuart Cameron. Rugby Pundit.

There was a lot of frustration and disappointment following the 26-23 win by Wales over Scotland on Sunday from players and spectators.

After all, we have now played two games and lost them both and the Championship title is effectively over, although mathematically there is still a chance.

Stuart Hogg dives in for Scotland's opening try in their 23-26 deafeat by Wales.

Stuart Hogg dives in for Scotland's opening try in their 23-26 deafeat by Wales.

One look at the bookmakers who have Scotland as 1000/1 for the title however tells you all you really need to know.

So let’s not play fantasy rugby and look instead at reality. The pressure is off us, we don’t have to worry about Grand Slams, Triple Crowns and Championships. We can target the Italy game in two weeks and show everyone just what we have learned from the last two weeks.

Ireland and England have shown that Italy are a competitive team for the first half but are found wanting in the latter stages.

I do believe we are making progress and going in the right direction despite the narrow losses, but we need to put teams like the current Italian side away.

We have to be clinical, and make the most of chances. We still lack the killer instinct to stamp our authority on a match.

We are not far away from producing a squad that really can bring back success to the country, but we’re not quite there yet.

Mark Bennett after the game on Sunday was very confident when quizzed about when we can expect something special: “It’s coming – believe me, it’s coming!”

I still buy into what Vern Cotter is doing with the squad, and the faith is still there in the players he’s picked to wear the jersey on match days.

Come the World Cup, if we continue to progress, we should sail through the pool stages and have a real chance of progressing beyond the quarter final stages.

A quick word finally about our local internationalists. Stuart Hogg was outstanding – incredible to think he’s nearly played 30 times for his country and he is a world class star.

You can see the old school influence in his play. His swerves and side-steps are wonderful to watch!

Laidlaw has been a revelation this season as a player and captain and should lead us into the World Cup.

Geoff Cross has an edge about him that has seen him develop continuously, while Ross Ford is having one of his best spells in a Scottish jersey.