The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
National coach Frank Hadden spoke enthusiastically before the French game about the competition for places in the squad being ‘tougher than ever’.
He added that he hoped supporters would be able to look back on the French match as ‘the start of one of these magical periods of over-achievement that the national team has embarked on from time to time.’
However, the Scots flopped on the day and they now face an uphill struggle.
They travel to Cardiff this coming weekend to take on a Welsh team bursting with confidence after a stirring second-half fightback brought them a famous victory over England at Twickenham.
Blair agrees that Scottish rugby supporters are right to be disappointed with what happened last weekend, but insists that the situation is retrievable.
“The game last week against France was the first time in a long time that the media and a lot of supporters were saying that Scotland were favourites to win, and I think we can overreact after one poor performance,” said Blair.
“People are saying that we are really struggling and that the game against Wales is going to be a real slog, but things don’t change that much in a week - you don’t go from being world beaters to wooden spooners that quickly.
“We’ve got to look at what we are doing week on week. Obviously last week was a performance which was really out of character compared to the way we’ve played in the last couple of years, but we hope that was just a freak day at the office and not the kind of thing we expect to normally happen.
“Training has gone well this week, and now we’ve got to back up what we are saying with our performance on Saturday. Hopefully we’ll get a fairer reflection of where we are at the moment. We are still a good team - we’ve just got to put a good performance in next week.”
Blair did concede that the pressure is now mounting on the Scots, who have a daunting schedule ahead of them, but he insists the self-belief in the squad is as good as it has ever been.
Scotland visit Cardiff this weekend, followed by Dublin a fortnight later, before welcoming World Cup finalists England to Murrayfield. They then finish the campaign off in Rome against an Italian side desperate to build on the two wins they managed last season.
“With losing that first game a wee bit of pressure does come on and we feel the pressure as a squad to perform because we know we’re capable of winning these games, but there is still a lot of confidence in what we’re trying to do, and we’re still as confident as we would have been if we had won last week,” said Blair.
Blair acknowledged that the need to cut down on the error count is particularly important against Wales.
“You could see from the last half hour of their game against England that Wales have got a never say die attitude,” said Blair.
“What they rely on is the opposition making mistakes. England made a lot of poor decisions by not playing the right part of the field, and as a result Wales got back into the game. So, that is what we have got to watch out for - they live off scraps and they’ve got a very effective press defence.”