As Scottish rugby stock hits a fresh low in the wake of what has been officially described as a “shambles” in Ireland, national team forwards coach Jon Humphreys has stuck his head above the parapet.
Welshman Humphreys has admitted that having teams that were partly set up to ensure a supply of tartan pro talent loaded with foreigners is not sustainable long-term.
But he reckons that the influx of foreign players in Scottish regional rugby, especially Edinburgh, is a cross the national team must bear in order to emerge stronger.
But “There has got to be a balance,” said the ex-hooker when asked how much lack of opportunities for Scots was a factor in the current situation.
Defending his employers’ policies, he added: “It’s a balance of trying to be successful and grow talent; sometimes you can’t have both (and) hopefully over the next four five years that becomes less and less.
“We need to create depth and that is something that is being worked at hard.
“Something we are trying to do as a national body is to support and help our regions develop quality talent.
“Giving a chance to go forward ... sometimes that is about mixing it with some experienced players, with players who give you different viewpoints and different experiences.”
The darkest hour can be before dawn, they say. But Humphreys appeared dismissive of a suggestion that Scotland could find mental strength ahead of facing England on Saturday by being driven by a fear of the worst outcome, preferring to emphasise technical abilities he believes DO exist.
“You can chase rainbows but it is not where we want to be, what we do and stand for. (You ask yourself) What are our principals? ... and try to find those principles when you are under the most intensive amount of pressure.
“That can only come by creating habits on a daily basis, executing what we need to execute at the most critical times and we didn’t do that (in Ireland). That’s what let us down.”
How about adversity bringing true ability to the surface on Saturday?
“I’m after a way forward. I’m after people who will stand up and say this is the way forward, follow me,” Humphreys, who has moved his family north, told the Evening News in a passionate response to Sunday’s biggest defeat by Ireland for nine years.