Tim Visser reckons he is Scotland’s eternal optimist – but fears their RBS Six Nations campaign will be heading for failure if they slip up against Wales.
Vern Cotter’s side return to BT Murrayfield today looking to regain the buzz which swept them to victory in their Championship opener with Ireland.
But that victory could not be backed up in Paris against France as they lost a brutal encounter – and their captain Greig Laidlaw for the remainder of the tournament.
Now Harlequins wing Visser admits their hopes for a positive end to the tournament could rest on the outcome of today’s clash with Rob Howley’s Dragons.
The former Edinburgh man, who is preparing for his first appearance of this season’s competition, said: “Statistically the third game is always key.
“I’ve learned that our Six Nations campaigns make or break with just one game and this is the one where it’s important we get a result. If we get a win we’re in a good position going forward.”
The history books do not offer much hope for the Dark Blues – and it is just as well Visser has not read them.
When it was pointed out to the 29-year-old that it is 10 years since Scotland last triumphed over Wales, he replied: “I thought it was eight? It’s not eight? Oh, God.
“Ah well, it’s not a big issue for me, I’m the eternal optimist. The stats don’t lie, Wales are a good team.
“We’ve had some narrow defeats against them in recent years, I remember losing here by three points couple of years back.
“Going to the Millennium Stadium is hard but it’s always a different game at Murrayfield. I remember sitting here last year at this time against France and it was a similar story – it was 10 years since we last beat them – but we got the win. I’m the eternal optimist but it’s going to be tough game.
“We’ve always been confident, certainly since Vern joined up, and we try and take that into any game. It’s a universal mindset that has been changed by Vern.”
And the former Edinburgh wideman rejected any notion that the defeat to Les Bleus in the Stade de France had sullen the mood in the Scottish camp.
“No I’m bringing it,” he replied emphatically. “It’s always tough to take a defeat in a game you went into feeling confident, and we went over to Paris to try and win there, no secret in that.
“To not get that result was tough but it’s a long campaign and especially nowadays with the new rules concerning losing bonus points it’s very important you see out every game.
“Going forward we’re still confident but we have to learn from these games that we haven’t won and take it forward into the rest of the campaign.
“Especially with the fallow weeks, you’ve got to stay focused and keep the mindset going into the next game.
“You’ve got to take losses in your stride and move forward. We’ve done that. We’re by no means the finished article but we have to stay confident going forward.”
Visser has been forced to wait his turn, with Sean Maitland and Tommy Seymour now Cotter’s clear first-choice partners for Stuart Hogg in the back three.
But a rib injury suffered by Maitland while on duty for Saracens last week has opened the door and Visser is now looking forward to reuniting himself with Hogg, who with three tries has been Scotland’s stand-out performer of 2017 so far.
“It’s good to be back,” he said. “I’ve been in and out of camp in the last two or three weeks which has been quite hard graft to be honest, flying up and down once or twice a week.
“So it’s good to get a chance and try to establish myself back in the team.
“I’m looking forward to playing alongside Hoggy again. He’s an interesting character, I’ve known him for years.
“When I first joined Scotland back in 2012 he was just a young boy and seeing how he’s grown into in the last couple of years has been brilliant. It can only benefit the players around him, especially the wingers when we link up with him.
“There’s some stiff competition worldwide at full-back but especially in attack he’s one of the best out there.
“I don’t like commenting on whether someone will be in contention for the Lions but he’s certainly going to be in contention.”