Feb 11 2010 By Matthew Leslie
TRY, try and try again is Glasgow Warriors ace Johnnie Beattie's mantra ahead of Scotland's trip to Cardiff this Saturday.
The Scots face Wales on the back of a disappointing defeat at Murrayfield last weekend to France where Scotland once again failed to cross the opposing try-line.
Only six tries have been scored in the last nine internationals with Scotland only grabbing more than one against weaker opposition in the form of Fiji and Italy.
Once again they got within striking distance of the French only to falter with Beattie's break and off-load to Chris Cusiter being dropped by his Glasgow Warriors team-mate.
Beattie admitted it wasn't the greatest of feeds but you would put your house on one of the French side picking it up and driving over for a score.
Not that Cusiter has been the only culprit. Time and again we've seen a dropped ball, a spilled pass or a knock-on when all that needed to be done to score was to sneeze.
Failure to convert pressure into points usually leads to one thing - punishment from the opposition and as Beattie states, Scotland can't afford to be generous to the Welsh on Saturday.
He said: "It was tough out there - especially in the first half as we dug ourselves into a few holes.
"It was frustrating the amount of ball we kept giving them and although we tried to claw our way back we left ourselves with too much to do.
"We managed to make a few breaks but didn't really do enough to capitalise on the possession and territory we had.
"Had we managed to punch enough holes in their defence and get away more off-loads then it might have been a different story but we didn't and we lost.
"It is no secret we haven't been running in the tries - and we are conscious this has been going on for a while now.
"We don't know if it is psychological or something else. We did work on getting runners in support of whoever made a linebreak yet as you saw against France, we still had players being isolated when they broke.
"Another vital difference was that even though both sides made handling errors they were able to capitalise on ours.
"Besides, when you give away two soft tries like we did, you're not going to beat anyone in this tournament. Regardless of whatever errors the opposition make, we have to cut out our own. Although some people are saying that I played well in defence, I and the other back-rowers would rather be doing my role at the other end of the pitch because there is a chance of us getting some points out of it.
"It was good to be involved but to have wave after wave of trying to quell their attacks without getting much turnover ball from them was very frustrating."
Warriors scrum-half and Scotland skipper Cusiter was adament the Scots had not taken a step back with the 18-9 defeat to France.
"It's not a step back," he said. "Ultimately, the game hinged on those two tries. We never made two defensive errors in one game which were as serious as that in the autumn.
"If you take away those two lapses, we were in the game, we were playing some good rugby, we were getting some good width on the ball and making a couple of line breaks.
"There's obviously a bit of work to do on our finishing; we didn't react well to a couple of situations when we got deep into their 22.
"We've got a lot to work on but we've certainly got a lot to build on.
"It's the first game - of course things weren't going to go absolutely smoothly.
"But we'll look at the video and work out how we can improve for next week.
"You have to say, on the day, the better team won. They executed really well in that first half."
Warriors aces Max Evans and Murray Low have paid the price for the French loss with the former being benched while the latter is left out altogether.
There is a recall for on-form Glasgow star Dan Parks who replaces Phil Godman at fly-half after the Edinburgh man's poor display at Murrayfield.
Meanwhile, Welsh wing ace Shane Williams has warned the Scots they are set on regaining some lost pride after their own opening defeat to England.
He said: "The season has not gone. The Six Nations is so tight these days that anyone can win it and we know that.
"It has been a good start for the likes of England, Ireland and France but we are not out of it.
"There are a lot of tough games coming up and, if I know the guys, then we are going to fight to the end.
"It is a poor start but I am sure we can pick ourselves up and start performing better than we did against England.
"We can win the remaining games and it is not an impossible task. We have been there and done it, so let us have a look to see if we can do it again.
"There are no panic stations yet and there is a lot more to come from this side.
"The good thing is we know we can play a lot better than that display against England.
We didn't play well yet could have won the game.
"Apart from the interception at the end, I felt we were starting to become the better side and we could have won it.
"We know we can play a lot better as we are a far better side than that."