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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 19:17 GMT
Chris Cusiter's column
Chris Cusiter
Chris Cusiter
Scotland scrum-half

Another disappointing defeat and another match we feel we should have won.

When the dust settles, that doesn't count for much, but we are kicking ourselves for missing an opportunity.

We have been in similar situations in recent times, most notably against England last year, leading with 20 minutes to go.

This time, however, we couldn't finish it off and gave away a couple of kickable penalties that handed the lead back to Ireland.

Rugby is a strange game and this one typified that. If we had played another five minutes, the lead could have changed hands two or three times.

Useless speculation? Of course. It only matters who is leading at full-time.

I don't think either team played particularly well and both defences held pretty firm for the whole game.

There were a lot of penalties conceded, which slowed the game down quite a lot.

We never really managed to manufacture the quick ball we were after and, though we picked up a few penalties, Ireland did enough to stop us getting into our stride.

Chris Cusiter tackles Ireland's Simon Easterby
Chris Cusiter could not prevent Ireland winning at Murrayfield

Although international rugby is about winning, we know that we need to start scoring tries to make the game a bit easier.

Chris Paterson just doesn't miss goal kicks and that very nearly won us the game, but the psychological boost that scoring tries gives you can't be underestimated.

For some reason, scores aren't coming our way just now.

Ireland have players who are among the world's best at beating opponents one on one and they look for that a lot from open play.

Players like O' Driscoll, D'Arcy and Horgan can find half gaps to get themselves through and, from there, they get themselves on the front foot.

They caused us problems in the first 20 minutes as we sat off them a bit.

Fortunately, we managed to stem the tide and our defence thereafter was pretty good.

Simon Taylor does a massive amount of work in defence and his tackle on Neil Best in the second half was reminiscent of Jason White in his pomp.

Sean Lamont's tackle on Dennis Hickie kept us in the game and it's incredible that both players managed to continue after that.

Two big men running full tilt, you would think that something would have to give? There was a bit of niggle during the game, but that was just a result of the will to win by both teams.

I'm positive there was nothing malicious going on at any point, just physical rugby.

I think it's appropriate to pay tribute to Scott Murray for breaking the cap record in Scotland.

Although a win would have been a fitting result for his achievement, it is nonetheless an incredible display of consistency, motivation and excellence that he has got to where he has.

Well done Scott, here's to many more. We now go to Paris this week desperately needing a win to get something out of the championship.

I know that we as players believe that a win is possible and, on reflection, there's not one game we have played so far that has been beyond us.

The pressure is on though. And, although Paris in the spring is not supposed to be the easiest place to go, we have to believe that we can get a result.

If you would like to ask Chris a question during the course of the Six Nations, fill in the form at the top right of this page.


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