It was a difficult match to watch on Saturday in more ways than one, because I was gutted for the lads and the game was happening while we were rehearsing for “Dancing on Ice”. 

It was almost a cross of two worlds blended into one day, because I treat my performance day as a game day, so it was actually game day for the lads and captain’s run for me with rehearsals. I had the game on my ‘phone and I was watching and remembering that game day buzz, all while rehearsing the group opener for the show.

Some of the other skaters and celebs noticed I was up to something when Jonny Gray made that early break after a great delivery from Finn Russelll because I just shouted so loud.

Loading article content

I was really encouraged by the early line breaks, Finn and Huw Jones making things happen, it was just a shame that it was a bit careless inside their 22. I consider Huw a very dangerous player, but there was one pass he might not have needed to fling when he maybe should have held on to it.

That’s something that comes from time in the game, time at that level, just to take advantage of where you are on the field, hold on to it that little bit longer and not chance the extra pass.

My brother Thom learned that. He would always make these amazing breaks, get deep into the opposition half and think he needed to always finish it off. However, he learned quickly that just holding on to that ball, getting the numbers there, you’ve got a great platform to then go off again.

I thought Chris Harris was unlucky with the set play where he was a bit too flat on the ball that bounced off him in their 22, but I don’t think that was his fault. It probably shouldn’t have been given to him. Other than that he was a bit quiet. Huw Jones stood out as a dangerous player again. Whether that was because in open play he found himself in space, rather than setpiece plays, but he was so dangerous in the autumn at 13, so it does beg the question whether that is his out and out position where he can really thrive.

I love watching Finn Russell, as I said last week, I love how much time he has on the ball, how much time he gives others and the way he takes it to the line. That’s something he’s just got to keep doing right through the tournament because opportunities are going to come off that. The creativity is there, just get those links right and they will be back to being very dangerous. It’s that small margin between getting it right and not quite managing to. You can’t say to Finn to hold back within himself or not go for stuff so much because that’s where they were so great in the autumn, when it worked because they got it right in the heat of the moment.

Although I don’t have the experience to really comment technically, anyone could tell that the lineout was messy. We gave away penalties with scrums too as the game went on, but I was impressed that the scrum was solid considering the injuries, but the platforms got messy as the game went on and that’s always difficult.

However, although it’s easy to point the finger at Scotland you also have to give credit to Wales who were brilliant and could even have had more because they butchered two opportunities. Aaaron Shingler got man-of-the-match but Steff Evans for me, from a winger’s perspective would have been my pick. He was an example to our wingers. 

I didn’t really see Byron and Tommy that much in the game and it’s key for wingers to just try to get everywhere and get in the game. If I was being critical I would say that in the wide channels, especially on Byron’s side, they just gave a bit too much space for the Welsh to play in. The Leigh Halfpenny try, that’s just experience in the heat of the moment. You can’t sit off when you’re on your try line. 

At the end it was all about pride and I just wanted them to take something into the following week, so I’m so glad my old room-mate Pete Horne crossed the line. It was a very, very small consolation, but being able to score does mean something. I remember playing in games where we came away with no tries and it’s the most depressing feeling as a back unit. That confidence of even just scoring one try is a reminder that you have the ability to do that and it helps so much and I can say that from experience.

So, it’s easy to be critical and if we hadn’t created as many opportunities in the first half and didn’t see players like Huw Jones, like Stuart Hogg, like Finn Russell, looking so dangerous again, you’d be wondering where we go from here, but the fact you could see that in some key players is still exciting. 

They now need to be positive going into this home game against France where they were so good in the autumn at home and if they’ve got that going they can turn over the French and be back on track.

They need to keep their chins up, because the French will be gutted about their result against Ireland and they really don’t travel well as I know from my days playing club rugby there. They are terrible travellers, so coming after that defeat and having to travel, if Scotland can just maintain that positivity it’s such a huge opportunity.