Consistency the key for Scotland
March 17, 2008
Scotland back Simon Webster believes Frank Hadden's side can improve on their disappointing RBS 6 Nations showing if they add consistency to their play.
Scotland avoided a second successive wooden spoon by a whisker after a last-gasp 23-20 defeat by Italy on Saturday.
The Scots looked like building on their Calcutta Cup triumph over England when they led by seven points at half-time.
But Gonzalo Canale's breakaway try in the 60th minute allowed Italy a foothold that they exploited with Andrea Marcato's last-minute drop goal winning the game.
Scotland began the game poorly when they conceded a penalty try under pressure from an Italian scrum.
That slow start mirrored their general campaign, which began with heavy defeats by France, Wales and Ireland.
And although there were gradual improvements in each of their three defeats, Webster knows Scotland must hit the ground running in every game if they want to progress.
"We are a young squad and we are, I feel, getting better, but when we start our next game we need to be good from the start," said Webster.
"If we had started against France similar to how we played in the last two games, then it could have been good.
"But unfortunately we started a bit slow and there is no time in the Six Nations to build confidence and momentum.
"You have got to start well, you have got to be good midway and you have got to finish well and we haven't done that.
"But going into the summer there are a lot of positives we can take, there are a lot of young guys.
"Stroker (Al Strokosch) has been brilliant in the couple of games he has played.
"These are guys who are going to add strength to our squad and hopefully make us better in the future.''
While the Edinburgh player retained optimism for the long-term future, he could not disguise his disappointment at the last-minute defeat.
The 27-year-old, who started in the centre on Saturday before moving to the right wing following injury to Simon Danielli, said: "We are just really disappointed, we came out to win and don't feel we achieved we set out to do.
"But a few people have said before me what has been achieved and how we've played since the France game, which was a real massive low for us and we really didn't perform.
"There were times when we actually played some all-right rugby and until the intercept I think we were well in control.
"There was quite a good feeling running through the team, we felt strong, we weren't making too many stupid decisions.
"It's one that has got away from us in the end.''
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry
Are the margins between the teams in the Six Nations getting smaller year-on-year? Huw Richards gives some answers