The 2003 RBS 6 Nations promised so much for Scotland following their success during the Autumn internationals.
Victories over Fiji and Romania and a record triumph over South Africa invigorated Scottish rugby with a tangible sense of optimism.
But just four months later that momentum has been lost following record defeats by Ireland and France and hefty defeat by England.
Poor finishing has been their greatest shortcoming and this problem is compounded by the fact that coach Ian McGeechan can't wield the axe with the same ruthlessness that Clive Woodward does with England.
McGeechan has picked the best players available to him and if one of those has an off day, there is little he can do about it.
The forwards have won their fair share off ball while the backs have created chances, but their inability cross the try-line has been terminal.
They have only breached their opponents' defence in one match during this year's championship, against Wales, and while skipper Bryan Redpath insists this is not a concern, it must be affecting their confidence.
Fortunately, that's where the Italians come in. John Kirwan's men are by no means the toothless Italy of recent years - their opening day triumph over Wales is indication of that - but they do leak points.
They have conceded more than any other team in the tournament - by some margin - and if Scotland are to rediscover their scoring touch then Italy at Murrayfield is the time to do it.
Neither side is safe from the wooden spoon - if Wales win in Paris, then the losing team in Edinburgh will finish bottom.