Ben White admits Scotland “fell short” when it mattered as he rued their lack of ruthlessness in the key moments of their Six Nations campaign.
After kicking off with back-to-back wins over England and Wales, Scotland’s hopes of silverware were dashed by subsequent defeats against the world’s top two sides as they lost 32-21 away to France a fortnight ago and then 22-7 at home to Ireland on Sunday.
Gregor Townsend’s men competed well for large chunks of both of those matches but scrum-half White admits they need to become more clinical if they are to have a chance of defeating the elite nations.
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“It’s tough to take any positives right now because we back ourselves to win and we fell short,” he said. “Ireland were very good, they were accurate when they needed to be.
“Against the top sides, you’ll get three or four chances and you have to take them all if you want to win.
“Against Ireland we created three or four chances and we took one, and ultimately that cost us in the end. They took their chances and we didn’t.
“Our accuracy in the final third wasn’t good enough and that’s something we’re going to have to work on going into the Italy game.
“We were in that game until about 55-60 minutes and then they turned the screw on us, which is disappointing.”
Scotland hooker Fraser Brown, who came on for the closing quarter on Sunday, felt Ireland showed their resilience in how they dealt with the challenge of losing their two hookers, Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher, to injury within 50 minutes.
“Ireland adapted very well to losing two hookers in the game,” he said. “It takes something (special) for a side to be able to adapt their game that well and come out with a win.
“The fact they extended their lead after both their hookers went off, they controlled that situation really well. I’m disappointed we didn’t put more pressure on them though, particularly at set-pieces.”
Brown is adamant Scotland will be able to rouse themselves for their final match at home to Italy.
Although they no longer have a chance of the title, the Scots can land the consolation prize of a top-three finish if they win on Saturday.
Brown hopes they can deliver a big performance to cap a campaign that promised so much after the opening two games.
“It will be pretty easy to pick ourselves up because we’ve got another big game on Saturday,” he said. “We started the championship really well, with two victories.
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“We played really well in parts against France in Paris and did well to work our way back into the game and again against Ireland we played well in the first half and put them under a lot of pressure.
“We know the quality we have within our squad and how well we can play but the next part of the puzzle is putting it all together to produce performances week after week for 80 minutes.
“It’s important to win on Saturday, it’s important to finish as high as possible and it’s important for the growth of the team heading into a big summer.”