Barclay expects a response

Date published: March 15 2017

Scotland captain John Barclay said re-watching their Six Nations loss to England made for difficult viewing in the post-match review.

Vern Cotter's outfit were on the receiving end of a 61-21 hammering at Twickenham last week as their Six Nations hopes were extinguished.

This week the Scots wrap up their campaign at home to the Azzurri and flanker Barclay is determined to put that England loss behind them.

"At Twickenham, we just didn't play well enough. We never got a foothold and we gave away stupid penalties," he told Press Association Sport.

"But we didn't make a great start against Wales and managed to deal with that. Everyone is honest about it. You have to be a man, take your medicine and then move on.

"I am confident that there will be a reaction this weekend – because it makes you sick when you watch it back. It's not easy. There will be a positive reaction.

"We need to right a few wrongs. We've had a lot of great support from the fans and, if we win three out of five, we can finish quite well in the championship. Doing that is the only way to move away from the England game."

He added on the loss: "We reviewed it and went over it. You can't really gloss over what went wrong.

"I certainly believe we've been on the right path and right trend. I don't think anyone saw that coming at the weekend.

"Hurting is pretty tough at this level. The manner of the defeat was more painful to take for the boys.

"But we can still finish with three wins, still finish second in the table – which we've never done in the Six Nations.

"What happened was a bump in the road – albeit a really big bump."

This will be Cotter's last game in charge before Gregor Townsend takes the reins at the end of the season and Barclay wants a good performance to end his coach's tenure.

"Vern has consistently told us that it's not about him," he said. "It's about Scotland performing."

"Italy always relish coming to Murrayfield and they will be targeting a win.

"The weekend showed that you have to be meticulous, play with detail, accuracy and clarity. If you fail to do that, you will lose."