IT started so brightly for Scotland, with Christian Townsend and Andy Stirrat both dotting down inside the opening quarter of an hour to establish a 12-0 lead, but when the Georgian giants eventually woke from their slumber, they produced an exhibition of power rugby that Kenny Murray’s youngsters simply did not have muscle mass or experience to cope with. 

“[That was] torture, to be honest with you,” conceded the age-grade side’s head coach afterwards. “We made some errors, dropped balls, made some bad decisions when we kicked it instead of running back, and got into that cycle of scrum, penalty, driving line-out, which put us under pressure – and they just completely outmuscled us.” 

As disappointed as Murray clearly was with what transpired at Stadio di Monigo in Treviso yesterday afternoon (it was the team’s 13th defeat on the bounce), he was at pains to absolve his players of culpability. 

“What people maybe don’t get is that this Georgian team are full-time rugby players, every one of them, whereas we’ve got guys who are not, so we’ve got to redress that balance quickly,” he argued.  

“We need to get the pathway we are bringing the boys through better, and we’ve got to make the pipeline stronger so that we are developing elite players to be big men. Rugby at this level is a really physical sport and at the moment we are way off that.  

“There is a whole host of things we need to get better at, and it is not just this under-20 group, it is the whole performance pathway.”  

Those are longer-term goals, and tough questions must be asked about how Scottish Rugby has managed to fall so far behind, not only their Six Nations rivals, but the likes of Georgia who are regarded as tier two nation and barred from feasting at Europe’s top table. 

In the meantime, Murray and his team must recover from this bruising experience in time to take on Ireland in their final match of this ‘Summer Series’ next Tuesday. It is a daunting task considering Scotland lost 59-5 to those opponents during the Six Nations earlier this year. 

“We don’t have a choice, we’ve got to get back,” shrugged Murray. “We’ve got probably our hardest game coming up next week now, so it is going to be tough. We’ve got another couple of days’ training to get ready, but the games don’t get any easier – this is international rugby.  

“That’s the learning curve for a lot of our guys and for us as a country – we need to be so much better in everything we do. 

“I just spoke to the boys in the changing room and kept it pretty low key,” he added. “I’ve asked them all to go away and look at their individual games and see what they think they need to work on. We’ll have one-to-one review meetings because we don’t have time to sit alone and feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to get on with it and be honest.  

“But we’re not going to solve things overnight. There are guys here who are probably not conditioned to play at this level, and we’ve got challenges we need to tackle from a skills perspective as well.  

“We’ve all got to be better. It is not the players’ fault. It is all of us in Scottish Rugby need to be better.”  

After those early Scottish scores, Georgia roared into a 26-12 half-time lead with their line-out maul causing carnage. Flanker Rati Zazadze, No 8 Beka Shvangiradze, prop Alexandre Kuntelia and winger Shalva Aptsiauri all dotted down for the Eastern Europeans. 

Zazadze claimed his second after 10 minutes of the second half, before a Max Williamson try for Scotland briefly raised faint hopes of an unlikely comeback, but Georgia barely missed a beat, and further scores from Shvangiradze, Paata Galdava and Nikoloz Babunashvili took them out of site.