Alex Dunbar insists Scotland will not be fooled into believing they have turned the corner despite their dramatic win over Italy in Rome.
The Glasgow centre scored a brace of tries before Duncan Weir sealed a morale-boosting victory with his drop-goal heroics just ten seconds before the final whistle. The 21-20 victory was much needed after the humiliation of a 20-0 hammering by England two weeks previously.
But Dunbar is adamant Scott Johnson’s side still have imperfections to iron out.
He said: “We have set the standard with that win in Rome. Now it is about finding that consistency in other areas.
“We have still got areas to work on. There were things against Italy that didn’t work well. But we have a week off now and hopefully we can put them right before the France game.”
The flaws in Scotland’s make-up will never be better illustrated than by contrasting the first and second-half displays at the Stadio Olimpico.
While there was hesitancy and suspect decision-making in the first 40 minutes, the visitors returned after the break with ice flowing through their veins as first Dunbar made the most of two chinks in the Italian defence before Weir kept calm to slot over his match-winning drop-kick.
“We were all disappointed at half-time,” admitted Dunbar. “We had been doing things wrong in the first half and there were things we needed to improve on. We did that and showed what we can do.
“We have been under a lot of criticism lately. We have played well in bits but then let ourselves down in other areas.
“As a whole squad we have come in for a lot of flak from the press.
“But we always knew what we can achieve and we proved that in the second half.”
Johnson believes Dunbar and his centre sidekick Matt Scott have the potential to be as potent a midfield pairing as there is in the northern hemisphere.
“No pressure there then,” joked Dunbar as he spoke of his burgeoning partnership with Edinburgh’s Scott. “It’s like anything, the more you play together the more you can read each other.
“We are improving every time we play. All we can do is keep working hard and hope that we get selected.”
His try double in the Eternal City took Dunbar’s try tally for his country to three after six caps but the modest 23-year-old gave the credit to his colleagues in the Scots’ back division.
He said: “There was a lot of good work done by the boys inside to let me score.
“The backs created a lot and I thought Sean Lamont, Chris Cusiter when he came on, Matty Scott and Stuart Hogg all did brilliantly. I was just fortunate to find a few gaps to exploit.”
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Alasdair Dickinson is the most significant casualty following the Rome success.
The Edinburgh prop injured a calf having come on as a second-half substitute for Ryan Grant. Scotland team doctor James Robson said: “Alasdair has a calf injury which will require further assessment in the care of his club medical team.
“Otherwise we have the habitual soft-tissue injuries you would expect from a hard-fought Test match but, at this early juncture, there do not appear to be any other injures of concern.”
Italy: Tries: Allan, Furno. Cons: Allan, Orquera. Pens: Allan 2.
Scotland: Tries: Dunbar 2. Cons: Weir. Pens: Laidlaw 2. Drop Goals: Weir.
Italy: McLean, Esposito, Campagnaro, Garcia, Sarto, Allan, Gori, De Marchi, Ghiraldini, Castrogiovanni, Geldenhuys, Furno, Zanni, Barbieri, Parisse. Replacements: Orquera for Allan (68), Botes for Gori (63), Aguero for De Marchi (57), Giazzon for Ghiraldini (57), Cittadini for Castrogiovanni (57), Bortolami for Zanni (73), Derbyshire for Barbieri (63). Not Used: Iannone.
Scotland: Hogg, Seymour, Dunbar, Scott, Lamont, Weir, Laidlaw, Grant, Lawson, M Low, R Gray, Hamilton, Wilson, Fusaro, Beattie. Replacements: Evans for Seymour (55), Taylor for Dunbar (72), Cusiter for Laidlaw (63), Dickinson for Grant (57), Denton for Fusaro (52). Not Used: Ford, Cross, Swinson.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia).