As Scotland walked off the Twickenham pitch after a 25-13 defeat, reality sunk in that there’s still a long way to go until they are big game contenders.
Scotland had looked like they could mount a serious attempt at ending their 16-game winless streak against the Auld Enemy on Saturday, but yet another late-game collapse sealed the Dark Blues’ fate, something Stuart Hogg admits has been an irritating feature during their 2015 Six Nations campaign.
“Overall it was a big disappointment to come away without the win,” said full back Hogg. “We were all devastated as we had put in a good first 40 minutes, holding them to just a few points, but we just let it go. I felt we had spells when we were on top, creating good scoring opportunities, but like in our other matches this year we just couldn’t hold on.
“It is all well and good playing well for periods and, yes, there are positives to take from Saturday’s loss, but our top-level performance needs to be for a full 80 minutes, not just a couple of times a game.
“We have been competing and making other teams work hard, but have lost our way at critical moments. Our decision-making has not been what it needs to be to win games in this competition.”
Despite Scotland’s abject failures this year, Hogg still believes they have made significant strides over the seven weeks spent in the Six Nations camp and remains upbeat ahead of their final match against title-chasing Ireland at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.
“It has been frustrating. It has been a disappointing tournament so far, but the focus is now on Ireland this weekend and not ending the season winless. [Ireland] are coming here looking to win the Six Nations title. They have an abundance of talent that can punish you at any point, so we will have to be squeaky clean and not give away stupid penalties.
“It is important we secure a victory because our performances throughout the tournament merit a victory and I believe if we can put together a complete 80-minute top-level effort, we will finish on top.”