SOME Scotland players have turned to a sports psychologist to help them get over the trauma of last weekend's heavy defeat in Cardiff and assist in keeping the mood positive as the side prepare to face France on Sunday.

Among those who find the advice from Damian Hughes, the expert drafted in from the University of Manchester, useful is Peter Horne, whose fourth Test try two minutes from time was the only time his side managed to get over the whitewash.

"He will go around a few of the guys and have a chat; quite a lot of the boys are open to that," Horne revealed. "He’s a good lad. He doesn’t do massive things with the whole squad, it’s individual, catching up with guys.

"A lot of the time he’s just there, chucking in little bits of wisdom about ways of coping with things or dealing with things. It’s more that if the boys feel they want to, they can go and have a chat with him. He’s not pushing it in your face, he’s not that type of guy."

For all that, Hughes, who has been involved with the squad since the summer, has presumably been a busy man in recent days as individual players try to work out why they undershot their own performance levels so badly in Cardiff.

"I’d like to think that everyone is mentally strong enough to know that one game doesn’t make you a bad player," Horne insisted. "Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has bad games, that’s part and parcel of professional sport.

"You can’t ride the crest of a wave the whole time. There will be times when you fall over. We just have to suck it up, admit we were pretty poor, and make sure it doesn’t happen again."

It is not as though it is particularly hard working out what went wrong, though understanding why may be a bit trickier and putting it right tougher still.

"We were all gutted, it’s not one where you could just forget it," Horne admitted. "Playing for your country you’re desperate to do well for yourself, your family, the fans. There was a big expectation from everyone inside and outside the group. We felt we blew a big opportunity; it has been a tough one to take.

"It becomes counter-productive to mope around all week, though. That’s why you have the reviews and honesty sessions. You speak about it and put it to bed and have a plan to go into the next week.

"Against the top teams you need to be patient and look after the ball. You watch the best teams and they are not doing anything special, they are just looking to look after the ball and then being clinical with their opportunities.

“If we look after the ball then we are a pretty devastating team, we have some of the best open-field players in the world, so I think we have a good chance [against France].

"We compounded errors with errors. This week won’t be a case of changing anything massively and we’ll train like we always do. It will be high tempo and with a real emphasis on accuracy.

“Communication helps with the accuracy – when a few passes go to hand and we don’t make mistakes, then we’re laughing."