Scotland lock Nathan Hines admits Frank Hadden was let down by his players in Rome as Italy snatched a home victory on the final day of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Scotland led 17-10 at half-time yesterday but lost 23-20 and only just avoided the wooden spoon, which went to the Italians.
The Scots had travelled in high spirits after their victory over England seven days previously but erratic performances, particularly from Dan Parks, meant they threw away a winning position.
“It’s a terribly disappointing way to end what has been a weird championship,” Hines said. “Frank says that we are further ahead now that we were after the France game and I think he’s right.
“I’d say he’ll get some stick for this defeat but Frank can only prepare a team up until Saturday. It’s up to the guys on the pitch after that. It’s not Frank’s fault we failed to control the game in the second half.
“He prepared us well for this and we should not have lost. He came into the dressing room afterwards and used the word ‘gutting’. That was spot on. It was how we all felt.”