ZANDER Fagerson believes that Scotland can end the Six Nations Championship on a high with victory over Italy on Saturday despite the bitter disappointment of losing to England three days ago. A third home win of the campaign at a sold-out Murrayfield could see Vern Cotter’s team end up second in the table, and would be their best return since 2006.
The squad assembled at Oriam yesterday and were due to have an analysis session on the Calcutta Cup match, which they lost 61-21. After that, Fagerson said, they would put that game behind them and concentrate on playing Italy, who have lost their four matches so far.
“It was a tough one to take,” the Glasgow Warriors forward said yesterday about that defeat at Twickenham. “We didn’t turn up. We’ve now got a chance to redeem ourselves next weekend. We’re looking forward to that. We’ll review it today and move on.”
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Asked if he thought the England match had exposed real flaws in the team’s play or was an aberration, he insisted it was the latter. “You have a yellow card and so many injuries,” he said, referring to the second-minute sin-binning of Fraser Brown. “So yeah ... a one-off. We didn’t play well. If you don’t turn up you’re going to get a thumping.
“We want to come back stronger this week. We owe it to ourselves and the fans to go out on a high. We just need to review the game, get it out our system and move on. That’s the best way.”
A bonus-point win for Scotland would be enough for second place if England beat Ireland and Wales beat France without a bonus, and there are other scenarios whereby they could come second without a bonus.
But such niceties will need to wait until during the match itself, according to Fagerson.
“We’re focusing on getting our bearings and getting our stuff right and beating Italy,” he added. “If we’re winning and it comes into play that we could get a bonus point, then we’ll look at it and address it. First and foremost we need to beat Italy.
“You’re gutted every time you don’t win. We used the France game and came back against Wales. I hope we can learn from [Twickenham] and put in a performance we can be proud of. It’s a learning curve and a great bunch of boys and we can finish on a high.”