The difference? Success. At least, that is the verdict from one of the senior players in the squad who admits that by the end of the RBS 6 Nations, the run of failure was starting to get to the players.
"It had been a pretty bad run, seven games without a win," said John Barclay, the back row whose contribution to the immense defensive effort in the 9-6 win over Australia on Tuesday was crucial. "It meant that the camp was quite a miserable place because that was the way it was going.
"Results were hard and it was a tough place to be. To then go away on tour and get a result like that – 30 years since we did it in Australia – was pretty special."
What turned it around, says Barclay – and eventually won a match for Andy Robinson, the Scotland head coach – was that when the players went back to their clubs, they got a taste of success. If that is the case, then credit for the win should be shared with Michael Bradley at Edinburgh and Sean Lineen at Glasgow Warriors, who between them took a downbeat, dejected bunch of players and revived both their spirit and their confidence.
It would also vindicate the new policy at the Scottish Rugby Union to prioritise the professional clubs. If they can replicate this season's successes, then there are going to be plenty more occasions when the players arrive on international duty already feeling that they are winners.
"After the Six Nations, the Edinburgh boys went back and had their Heineken Cup run; we couldn't afford to go back and not contribute to the Rabbo run," said Barclay. "Both teams had something meaningful to play for, the motivation was there and the successes kept boys playing at a high level and kept them focused for this tour.
"It is a bit more relaxed and the training has been brilliant. We have been together for two weeks but I really don't know where that time has gone. It is one of those tours where everyone is having fun. The result against Australia means that it is a good place to be at the moment."
For Barclay, the secret of Tuesday's success was that while Scotland were prepared to roll their sleeves up and get stuck into playing effective wet weather rugby, Australia allowed their frustrations at being unable to break the magnificent Scots defence get to them.
"We were aware of the importance of frustrating them," he said. "Not many of them will have played in conditions as bad as that, but they always knew that it was going to be a tight game. You sensed them getting frustrated that they could not get the ball over the line. When we got the ball back up there, they were starting to get a bit worried that it would take just one penalty and that was the game.
"With the wind, it was always going to be one of those games where all the action took place in one part of the pitch. Tackling and keep tackling; that was all you could do. When we got the ball, there was not much we could do with it. The kickers were trying to get it out, but into that wind, they could not even be touch or make more than about 10 yards. It was always going to be roll your sleeves up and get stuck in.
"Everyone did that and it worked out all right.
"I thought [Australia's David] Pocock was pretty good – he won a few turnovers and things like that – but I think our back row edged it, our pack edged it. I thought our back row went really well. Ross Rennie and Alasdair Strokosch just got stuck in."
In fact, Rennie ended up as Scotland's leading tackler with a staggering 32 – and no misses – while the team accumulated 214 in total, with Barclay and Strokosch also putting in impressive performances. Perhaps Strokosch is considering calming his post-match celebrations, though, after the clash of heads that left him with stitches in a scalp wound and Joe Ansbro with a black eye and stitches. Neither is thought to be in danger of being unavailable for the Fiji match.
That is where Scotland's attention has to be. After a game like the one against Australia, it is vital that they do not throw the momentum away. "It was nice to have a big result like that but we need to go on and have a good tour as well," said Barclay. "We have two really hard games coming up that probably won't be played in the same conditions. Ultimately, however, you get judged on the Six Nations because there is something at the end of that, and we have to make these results count there.
"Fiji are going to be a whole different challenge. We really wanted to go out and play the way we have been training but conditions would not allow that. I am really excited about the way we have been training and the way we are trying to play the game.
"The difference from the Six Nations is huge. We are all looking forward to playing in the way we have trained, it would be nice to go out and see where you are and what differences that can make," he added.