Sam Warburton takes aim at ‘arrogant’ Scotland players which sums up team’s ‘mindset’

Colin Newboult
Scotland players dejected after defeat to Italy in the 2024 Six Nations.

Scotland players dejected after defeat to Italy in the 2024 Six Nations.

British and Irish Lions legend Sam Warburton believes that Scotland currently lack the “killer mentality” to be a truly successful Test team.

The former Wales captain recalled a previous experience he had with a couple of their players to describe why they have not fulfilled their potential.

Warburton stated that it occurred after one of Scotland’s victories over the Welshmen, but it was not clear which game he was referring to.

Scotland’s recent wins

Gregor Townsend’s men sealed their first triumph over Wales in Cardiff since 2002 during the recent Six Nations, while they also claimed wins last year and in 2020.

The 35-year-old was scathing of the Scottish in both his Times column and on the BBC’s Rugby Union Daily podcast.

“Scotland? It is the same old, same old, unfortunately. They were competitive again but I don’t think they will ever win a Championship with this group of players,” he said.

“It is just not there. I know they were dealt a bad hand against France but to go to Italy and lose in the way they did just showed that they lack that last bit of ruthlessness, that killer mentality, to be a Championship-winning side.

“I don’t know how they find that. I do worry about their mindset and I saw an example after the win against Wales that really worried me, when two players came to an after-match function still in their kit, drinking beer, and acting as if they had beaten a top side to win a title. They just seemed a bit too cocky.”

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Warburton did not specify who those individuals were but that it made him understand why Scotland have underachieved over the years.

“I am not going to throw these two players under the bus, so they will remain anonymous, but they were two senior players in the Scotland team at the moment,” he said.

“I remember watching it and, in my head, I thought it was shocking from a cultural perspective. They came in, beers in their hands, still in their kit, flip flops on, giving it the big one.

“Bear in mind this was over just one win. They were doing this Q and A and I thought they were really arrogant. I’ll be honest. I would never have accepted that from players in a group I was involved with.

Lacking a ‘hard edge’

The ex-Lions skipper added: “I would have said: ‘Are those our standards? Let’s celebrate when we win something.’

“I don’t know for certain but, for me, that told me there is not quite that hard edge in the Scotland camp.

“I was watching, thinking, that’s how I would celebrate winning a World Cup. What I saw with Scotland, I’m thinking, that’s not the mindset of a Championship team.

“I don’t want to sound too negative but I just think if you want to be truly elite, you have to really act as if you are elite. I think maybe it’s a cultural thing.”

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