Scotland may have experienced a day to forget at Twickenham but there is no chance of them being left to lick their wounds for too long– that’s according to former British & Irish Lions captain Martin Johnson.
Chasing their third win in this year’s Six Nations competition, Scottish fans could not have predicted what was to follow for their team in the English capital last Saturday.
Seven tries conceded by Scotland and a record-equalling winning margin for England who retained the Calcutta Cup 61-21.
Scotland’s cause was not helped by injuries – both in the build up to and during the match – but the aftermath made for grim reading regardless.
Scottish captain John Barclay labelled the performance as useless while they get a chance to make amends slightly when they take on Italy at BT Murrayfield in their final Six Nations match on Saturday.
That will also be head coach Vern Cotter’s last game in charge before Gregor Townsend takes over in the summer and Johnson believes a much-improved Scotland will be on display.
"The good thing for them is that it wasn’t their last match – they get to go home and play their last game under Vern Cotter, and go out with happier memories than that, because everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” said Johnson.
"Scotland’s best two props haven’t played this tournament – Josh Strauss has played very well for them at number eight – he wasn’t playing either.
"John Hardie wasn’t playing and they had captain Greig Laidlaw out – that’s a third of a team who would have played. I think they fell to pieces a bit though.”
On the last British & Irish Lions tour, Scotland had three representatives as part of the touring party –Richie Gray, Sean Maitland and Stuart Hogg – plus replacement Ryan Grant.
You would have to go back to 1993 for their largest representation of recent years when seven were originally picked.
And while the performance against England would certainly not have helped strengthen the Scottish players’ case for inclusion this time around to New Zealand, Johnson believes right now, the focus has to be on the players bouncing back individually and as a team.
"I’ve never seen a game where a team has been exploited like that three times in the first half for three tries that have just killed the game,” he added.
"[Scotland have to ask now] how do they put it right immediately and how do they handle those situations again as a team if they come up?"
“How do I put it right immediately? And how do I handle those situations again if they come up? How do we handle it as a team?”
Martin Johnson is an Ambassador for British & Irish Lions Principal Partner Standard Life Investments.