New winger Lee Jones insists the never-say-die spirit demonstrated by Edinburgh throughout a successful Heineken European Cup campaign can carry Scotland back to the RBS Six Nations Championship winners’ enclosure.
Four of Edinburgh’s five sectional wins in that competition were by a single score and Jones says that memory with seven club-mates on the pitch at full-time ensured Scotland battled to the wire in the Championship opener against England, and will continue to do so.
Stressing that the belief exists through Edinburgh’s exploits that any situation can be turned into a win – a deficit of 24 points was retrieved against Racing Metro – Jones, below, who made his debut on Saturday, said: “Against England (6-13) we controlled possession a lot and never doubted we could win right up until the last minute.
“We were in their ‘22’ a lot in the last ten minutes then they would get a turnover and push us back down the field.
“Credit England with defending well, they rushed up on us a fair bit and a couple of times got man-and-ball in turning us over. But if we had just held that extra depth and got that final pass away it could have been different.”
Jones has been named in the starting XV for Sunday’s trip to Cardiff and gets the chance to show he has absorbed the lessons of international rugby which he sums up, saying: “Once you are out there you treat it like any other rugby game.
“The difference is there are one or two brick walls which would normally be a half gap elsewhere; at international level you have to be pretty sharp.
“I have now played an international and before the game, not knowing what it will be like, you speak to guys and they will try and give their advice.
“Until you have been there and realised what a step up it is that counts for little and that is what I take from my debut.”
Colleague Dave Denton urges fans to stick with the Scotland squad. “It was a game of inches with a lot of close calls and near misses,” said Denton of his first Test start, adding: “If that seems always the case there were a lot of positives.
“Our attacking play was good but England defended very well.
“I think we are very close to being a very good team. It is just about clicking.
“I felt I was almost away up the touchline and just needed one pass to get someone clear and that is what convinces me we definitely could have won. It didn’t happen but, hopefully, it will this weekend.
“We will analyse and see what went right and what we need to put right.”
The need to pour over the plusses and minuses of the Calcutta Cup clash was also emphasised by Denton’s back row colleague Ross Rennie, who said: “There are certain things we can improve on and we did a lot of good things. It is just tweaking.
“We did make a few line breaks. It is finishing them off and pressurising a team and showing dominance to get points.
“It’s the same with any team. You want to build pressure and hope it is going to turn into points.
“We have to regroup with a massive game coming up.
“Coming off the pitch you have things in your head but you don’t know until you watch the video.
“Then you decide which way forward.”