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The Scots have been in just such a predicament before, almost 30 years ago.
On March 5, 1983 they ran out at ‘HQ’ wondering where their next win would come from.
They had lost in Paris, as they did last month. Ireland and Wales had gone to Murrayfield and won, just as they did last month.
The Scots changed their captain and the rest, as they say, is history. Jim Aitken marked his appointment by giving the rest early notice of the Grand Slam which would follow twelve months later.
The Gala prop led his country home by a surprisingly comfortable margin, 22-12 with every point accounted for by men from the Borders.
Roy Laidlaw, the Jedforest scrum half who had preceded Aitken as skipper, scored the first of the game’s two tries, Tom Smith the last in storybook fashion near the end.
Gala’s debutant second row took the ball in the line-out with a soaring leap and touched it down over the English line almost in one fell swoop.
In between, another Gala player, full back Peter Dods, kicked four goals and the Melrose wing, Keith Robertson, dropped a goal for good measure.
England back then had assembled a team from a number of unlikely clubs – from Swansea (Tony Swift), from Gosforth (Steve Bainbridge), from Moseley (Nick Jeavons), from Headingley (Peter Winterbottom).
Their captain, John Scott, played for Cardiff and, to show their even-handedness by including a trio of Welsh clubs, the selectors borrowed their loosehead prop from Newport – Colin Smart, he of the aftershave fame.
Despite their losing sequence, the Scots had nothing to fear in 1983.
England were only one point better off, thanks to a draw in Cardiff from a match of such low quality that the Wales coach, Clive Rowlands, joked about the replay being held the following Monday and that he, for one, would be giving it a miss.
The losing finish ensured that Scotland had rid themselves of the Wooden Spoon and completed the double whammy of foisting it on their neighbours.
The fixture has not witnessed an away win since, the run of unbroken home success interrupted only by a draw in 1989 which just happened to coincide with Andy Robinson’s Five Nations debut in the English back row.
As Scotland’s head coach, he will appreciate better than most that the England team and replacements awaiting them at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon are made of rather sterner stuff than they were in the early Eighties.
It will take an upset of mighty proportion if the leaders fail to secure the fourth successive win which would give them a shot at the Grand Slam on Saturday week in Dublin, where they won the last one eight long years ago.
Scotland have not merely lost every match in London since the Five became Six at the turn of the century but have conceded an average of almost five tries in the process.
Jonny Wilkinson scored his last Test try against them in 2007, his then Newcastle colleague, Jamie Noon, bagged a hat-trick in the game before that and Jason Robinson weighed in with two during World Cup year in 2003, ironically so given that the Scots once asked him to play for them after discovering that his mother came from Glasgow.
England have had it pretty much all their own way at home since 1999 when Wilkinson made his first Championship start and Kenny Logan missed a few shots at goal, crucially so in a game which the Scots were unlucky to lose, 24-21.
Martin Johnson, in only his second Five Nations match, endured an uncomfortable finish along with everyone else wearing a Red Rose after Gregor Townsend’s late try had raised the real prospect of a Scottish victory.
They had good cause to feel hard done and yet still wound up as the last Five Nations champions, thanks to Wales’ famous win over the hitherto unbeaten English at Wembley while Cardiff Arms Park was being converted into the Millennium Stadium.
Ireland will be there on Saturday afternoon, attempting to preserve their incredible record in Cardiff where Wales have beaten them just once in 28 years – the decider for their Grand Slam in 2005.
Nobody has fonder memories of the Welsh capital than Ronan O’Gara whose Cardiff feats include the drop goal which won the long-awaited Irish Slam two years ago and two European Cup final victories for Munster.
Wales, in second place on points difference after winning in Edinburgh and Rome, surprised nobody by changing their No. 10, Jonathan Davies’ return from injury allowing James Hook to revert from centre to his favourite position with Stephen Jones back on the bench, awaiting his 99th appearance for Wales.
The penultimate round kicks off in Rome where Italy will hope to maintain their improvement and give France a serious run for their money.
The last time they managed that, under Massimo Giovanelli’s inspiring captaincy in Grenoble on March 22, 1997, they beat the then champions of Europe with four tries and eight goals from the little master at fly half, Diego Dominguez.