'Scotland have never been worse'
February 10, 2014
Where now for Scotland? © PA Photos
As the dust - or perhaps more accurately the mud - settles on a one-sided Calcutta Cup match, there is an overall sense of gloom in the media about the future for Scottish rugby.
Sir Clive Woodward leads the charge in the Daily Mail. "Saturday was a sad day for Scottish sport and their rugby team have never been worse. That team would fail to beat a single club in the Aviva Premiership and a second-string England side would have won comfortably. All the historic montages of this fixture, all the auld enemy stuff, looks a nonsense now and it will remain embarrassing until Scotland get a competitive team. "
Scotland on the rack
© PA Photos
In the Times Owen Slot adopts a similar tone. "There is a bleaker reading of the evidence [Scotland] left out on the muddy stretches of Murrayfield that questions the sad realities of the professional game in the country and asks: are there really six nations in this tournament? If relegation and promotion were ever to come in to the Six Nations, Scotland, in their present state, would be eternal candidates for the drop. That would clearly accelerate the downward spiral. And yes, this remains a hypothetical debate, but for now the Six Nations Championship remains four plus two and devalued because of it."
Paul Hayward in the Daily Telegraph goes a step further. "Scotland should be told by the Six Nations Championship to start taking it seriously or step aside for another country to have a go. This may seem a melodramatic response to their lamentable 20-0 home defeat to England at the weekend but the Scots are becoming an embarrassment to one of sport's greatest tournaments."
And he concludes with a withering attack on those running the game in Scotland. "The great cauldron of Scottish union is now a heavily corporatised world of synthetic patriotism, firework bangs and pre-match cavorting by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. You have only to leave Murrayfield in the dark to know that something has been lost. Scotland have weakened to the point where the best young players must have no faith in the bureaucrats who set the stage on which they play. Most of all, Scotland's supporters are being cheated by the 'Murrayfield experience' and by the paucity of resources on display.
Andy Bull in the Guardian has Scotland's interim coach Scott Johnson in his sights. "A man can expect to get away with the same old lines only so many times before his audience spot that he sounds like a stuck record. If a bad workman blames his tools, a bad coach carries on much as Johnson did after this match."
Stephen Jones in the Sunday Times agrees. "It would be wonderful to be proved wrong, but there is so little in the previous career of Johnson to suggest he is in any way suited by temperament, skills or knowledge of his adopted nation. Off the field, Johnson can be entertaining. But what Scotland need is to be entertained by wins, not words. One of the best Scottish players of recent times had this reaction to the prospect of Johnson taking complete charge: "Very scary." Quite."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin