David Denton may gave been one of Scotland's more progressive forwards before he was substituted in the drubbing by England at the weekend but the Glasgow No.8 admits the national side have gone backwards in this year's RBS 6 Nations.

Scotland were well off the mark in the 28-6 defeat by Ireland in Dublin in opener and were worse the following weekend as England brushed aside a feeble line-up with a brutal 20-0 win which could - and should - have been worse.

Denton said: "The biggest disappointment is that we never really played any rugby against England. We spent massive parts of the game defending and you are never going to be in a rugby match like that if you don't have the ball.

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"It's been a tough couple of weeks, losing convincingly to both Ireland and England. But it was the England game that hurt most. The Ireland game we let ourselves down because we should have been in it to the end and challenged for the win.

"But against England we were never in it. We did not put up a significant challenge against the English."

The dismal defeat to the Auld Enemy - Scott Johnson's side have spent just 3% of the Murrayfield match in England's 22 - has promoted several days of soul searching as Scotland's players, former internationalists and pundits reflected on one of the nation's worst displays.

Greig Laidlaw, the captain, joined Denton in admitting the team failed to deliver at all but he insists his side can bounce back by beating Italy in the Wooden Spoon decider.

"There was nobody more disappointed than myself, the rest of the boys and the management," said the Edinburgh scrum-half. "We just never got going in the game. We never helped ourselves, that was clear for everybody to see. We gave away too much possession, the boys fell off a few tackles.

"Credit to England, they are a good, powerful side and they showed that on the day. But now we need to look forward. We have got three games left in the tournament and that makes each of them massive.

"We have got the players to turn it around. We just need to get out on the training field, train hard and take the things we need into the next game. But we have also got to play with our heads up. We let ourselves down at the weekend when we never picked our heads up.

"We need to play what is in front of us in the three remaining games and if we do that we will put ourselves in a much better position.

"Italy will be a tough game and they will be targeting us as well. That's fine if they want to do that.

"Their forwards are their main threat so up front we need to get the battle right and secure set-piece ball. If we do that then I think we have the back line that can cause teams problems. "Hopefully it will be on a faster track [than Murrayfield], a nice firm pitch that will help us along the way."

Italy have called up the Zebre prop Matias Aguero to their 30-man squad for next weekend's match.

At the start of the week, Jacques Brunel, the head coach, named the 29 players who will assemble in Rome on Sunday to begin preparations for the match but delayed choosing the last member of his pool until after a Six Nations disciplinary meeting on Wednesday had ruled that the prop Michele Rizzo would be banned for two weeks after having been sent off for head-butting his opposite number Rabah Slimani, who was also dismissed, in Sunday's 30-10 defeat by France in Paris.

The Argentina-born Aguero, who turned 33 yesterday, has earned 22 caps since making his debut in 2005 and spent three years in English rugby with Saracens.