Rugby

Steve Tandy reveals Scotland held ‘hard-hitting’ review of crushing Italy defeat

The Scots’ championship hopes went up in smoke in Rome as they squandered a 22-10 lead to lose 31-29 against an improving Italy outfit.

Scotland have held a post-mortem into their Italy defeat
Scotland Scotland have held a post-mortem into their Italy defeat (Adam Davy/PA)

Steve Tandy revealed Scotland have held a “hard-hitting” review into Saturday’s damaging Guinness Six Nations defeat by Italy as they bid to summon a response away to title-chasing Ireland this weekend.

The Scots’ championship hopes went up in smoke in Rome as they squandered a 22-10 lead to lose 31-29 against an Azzurri side who, for all their perceived improvement, had not previously won a match in the tournament since 2022.

Defence coach Tandy revealed the players and coaches had a frank debrief on Monday as they attempt to iron out the issues that cost them so dearly at Stadio Olimpico.

“Obviously huge frustration and disappointment, a lot of looking at ourselves and what we did,” he said on Tuesday afternoon as he gave an insight into the mood in the Scottish camp since their collapse in the Eternal City.

“Italy are a good team, but when you look back at it, there are definitely things we could and should have done better so there’s been a lot of looking inwards.

“It was a pretty quiet place after the game and then coming in on Monday, the review was hard-hitting. The boys have reflected, they’ve looked at the footage, they’ve fed back themselves.

“We had a pretty good meeting – as much as it could be good after a loss.”

Italy knocked Scotland out of their stride on Saturday
Italy Scotland Italy knocked Scotland out of their stride on Saturday (Adam Davy/PA)

Tandy felt Scotland were uncharacteristically “soft” defensively in Italy, but he refuted the suggestion they lack the mental strength to deal with periods of adversity.

“We’ve shown moments of regathering ourselves, such as in Wales when we got that momentum back at the back end of the game to get the win,” he pointed out.

“Against England we were 10-0 down after the disappointment of the previous game against France, where everyone said we should have won the game, so getting over that to beat England shows we’ve got the mental capacity to do those things.

“But it’s always a work in progress, there’s always space to learn and grow. These losses hurt and they make us ask questions around certain things, but at the end of the day we’ve got a huge game on Saturday so we can’t dwell on it for too long.

“We’re going to lose momentum in Ireland. No team goes there and dominates. We’re going to be under pressure for a lot of the game and we’ve got to deal with that.

“In a lot of the competition we’ve dealt with it. There are moments when we haven’t dealt with it, but we’re learning all the time to try and deal with those situations more consistently.”

Scotland face Ireland on Saturday five months after their World Cup clash
Scotland Ireland Scotland face Ireland on Saturday five months after their World Cup clash (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Scotland’s defeat in Italy effectively cost them the chance of a title decider against Ireland in Dublin, but they still have the chance to claim a Triple Crown for the first time since 1990 if they can defeat the side that dismantled them 36-14 at the World Cup in October.

“I forgot about that (the Triple Crown) after Saturday night, to be honest,” said Tandy. “But we’re playing for a trophy – I don’t know how many years it is since we have been playing for a trophy.

“That’s the beauty of sport, the fact you can be down at the lowest of lows, but now we have the potential to be at the highest of highs, which is exciting for us.

“We know we’re going to have to play really well to get what we want, but it’s a game, anything can happen.”