It was all there for Andy Robinson's Scottish side at Murrayfield last night. As an inexperienced English team prepared for stormy weather and 67,000 Scottish supporters, Robinson promised "mayhem" and "chaos" from his squad.
Confidence was extremely high as Scotland tried to move past their mistake-prone loss to Argentina in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The first half was a hard-fought and physical contest with Scotland leading 6-3 after two successful penalties from stand-off Dan Parks. In the changing rooms, Robinson's men remained calm and positive.
Then, in the early minutes of the second period, England's fly-half Charlie Hodgson blocked Parks' clearance and scored the match's only try. As England celebrated, Scotland appeared visibly shaken. They never recovered their confidence, failing to score for the remainder of the contest.
After Hodgson's try, Scotland surrendered just one penalty to England fly-half Owen Farrell, but could not counter with any scoring of their own. In many ways, missed chances make the pain particularly acute for Scotland.
Lock Jim Hamilton said after the match, "We came in believing as a team that we could win."
A noticeably frustrated Hamilton continued: "The story of our lives. Making opportunities, creating opportunities, making line breaks and just not finishing them off."
Failing to score tries has been a recent problem for the Scotland Squad. In the nail-biting loss to Argentina, Scotland did not have any tries, and last night Greig Laidlaw's outstretched hand just missed the ball, according to the TMO.
Scotland back-row David Denton appeared somber after the contest, despite having earned Man of the Match. "It's a game of inches and we lost a few of those," he said. "England defended exceptionally well, but we're very close to clicking and when it happens we will be very dangerous."
Scotland certainly hopes Denton's words prove true as they prepare for Wales in Cardiff next week.
Hamilton advised, "We need to go down there with as much confidence as we can take out of that game [England] and believe in ourselves. You know, looking at the opportunities that we had today, and just believing that they're going to come up for us."
A must-win match for many reasons, Scotland need to take Hamilton and Denton's words to heart as they get ready for another tough contest next week.
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