It may be a little too early to begin discussing Scotland's potential in future tournaments as the 2012 RBS Six Nations is still going on, but Andy Robinson had to be encouraged by the play of his young players at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday.
Even as yesterday's humbling defeat to Wales ferments in the minds of Robinson's team, 22-year-old David Denton, 19-year-old Stuart Hogg, and 26-year-old Greig Laidlaw made a powerful statement that Scotland will be a force in international rugby for a long time.
After a week that featured Number 10 Dan Parks walk away from the game and the late announcement that defence coach Graham Steadman will not be retained, Scotland's youth performed admirably against a gifted Welsh side. Although this certainly does not ease the sting of the loss, it does provide much needed optimism for Scotland moving forward.
Laidlaw, Parks' replacement, scored a try for Scotland and Hogg was denied a late try by a referee's knock-on call. Man-of the-Match, David Denton was superb again and after the game, Robinson remained upbeat as he praised his team's effort.
"I'm proud of the way the team's gone out the play the game," a somber but positive Robinson told the press. "We played very well and we're hurting and disappointed."
Still, the coach has to be pleased with the way his young team performed. Along with Denton, Richie Gray and Ross Rennie were constantly pressing the Welsh defence.
Scotland is likely to get Ruaridh Jackson back and the 24-year-old Glasgow Warriors Number 10 could push Laidlaw for his spot in the first XV. Jackson has missed the first two matches of the Six Nations due to injury.
Whoever Robinson chooses in the days leading up to the France match, the future could be bright for this young Scottish side.
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