Triple Crown statistics paint a bleak picture for the Scottish side, who traded optimism for resentment

Stuart Hogg’s captaincy is in jeopardy and the pressure is mounting on Gregor Townsend. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

In contrast, Scotland have not won any since the Championship was expanded in 2000. They have to go back to the 1990 Grand Slam for their last Triple Crown, back in the amateur days when there was no trophy. It remains a mythical honor for the Scots, an intangible distinction beyond their reach.

When sifting through the rubble of yet another doomed campaign, it’s difficult to find too many positives. Scotland seems to have gone backwards. As they capped the 2021 championship with a glorious win over France in Paris, a warm feeling enveloped the national team, a sense of optimism that this group of players could fulfill their talent and potential.

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Ireland’s most recent achievement was the sixth Triple Crown of the Six Nations era. Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The couple’s failure to convincingly and calmly address the matter has made the situation worse. Refusing to explain what happened or showing genuine remorse simply created a vacuum that could be filled with speculation and criticism.

No one thinks they should be hung, stretched and quartered, but a little humility wouldn’t hurt.

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2022 Six Nations: Ten things we learned as Scotland imploded, France ruled…

From the outside, it’s hard to understand why Scotland felt the need to leave Rome after beating Italy 33-22 on Saturday 12 March.

There was talk that Sunday should be a “rest day”, but what harm could there be in booking a restaurant in the Italian capital after the game, enjoying a good win in each other’s company and then on to fly home the next day?

Instead, the crew was herded out of the stadium and onto a plane back to Edinburgh, leaving one of Europe’s major cities for the dubious lure of George Street’s fleshpots.

People can be very upset about incidents like this and no one batted an eyelid when Zander Fagerson went to the Rugby Special after beating England on the opening weekend to say a couple of lads “ripped their asses out” on Saturday night .

The difference this time is the personnel involved and the assumption that a schism exists. Along with Hogg, the Edinburgh Six also included Finn Russell and Ali Price, three team leaders who should have known better.

Hogg and Russell have been the figureheads of Scottish rugby for almost a decade, world-class players who provided silverware for the Glasgow Warriors before finding fame and fortune with clubs in England and France respectively.

There were moments of glory with Scotland too, but perhaps not as many as there should have been.

Calcutta Cups ensured memorable victories over Australia, France and Wales, and they came within a hair’s breadth of reaching the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup under Vern Cotter. But they were eliminated in the group stage at the last World Cup and they are nowhere near the top end of the Six Nations, where third place and three wins in a season remains their high point.

Both will be 31 at the next World Cup and it could be their last appearance on the world stage.

What did the younger members of the squad think of the canceled senior professionals night in Edinburgh? The villains will argue that the logs weren’t as clear as they could have been, but it wasn’t a great sight.

Also, the failure of the Scottish players or coaching staff to attend the post-match dinner in Dublin marked the first time Ireland had held such an event since the pandemic. Scots will no doubt cite Covid concerns but it would have shown some respect for Ireland’s achievements had they shown face.

They may even have learned something, for example how a country with a similar population and rugby profile can produce a national team and provincial sides capable of competing at the top of the game.

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Matthew Hallett

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