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Ruaridh Jackson urges Scotland to forget World Cup and fix Six Nations campaign

Ruaridh Jackson believes it is time Scotland forgot their World Cup adventure and focus on fixing their crumbling RBS 6 Nations campaign.

The Dark Blues entered this year's Championship on a high after their exploits at England 2015.

Vern Cotter's men came within a highly controversial refereeing call of grabbing a place in the last four only to be denied by official Craig Joubert and the boot of Australian Bernard Foley.

But they have failed to carry the momentum generated at the tournament into the Six Nations and are now rooted to the bottom of the table after losing their first two games to England and Wales.

If they fail to beat Italy in Rome in a fortnight's time, they will have gone 10 dismal matches without a win.

Wasps back Jackson wishes the Scots were still playing with the same abandon that saw them push the Wallabies to the limit but he knows living in the past will not solve their issues.

"It's a results based business," he admitted after losing 27-23 in Cardiff. "At the end of the day when you put it down like that - nine straight defeats - it's not great viewing.

"Just look at the World Cup and how close we were to a semi-final.

"But we can't keep looking back at that. We've got to live in the present. This is happening right now.

"Last week against England wasn't how we wanted to play but against Wales we fronted up again and it was just one or two decisions which will get us over the finish line.

"We can't get too disheartened. We've got to stick together. There's a lot to play for and we need to keep pushing for those wins.

"We're tired of repeating ourselves but we do want to push on. We're sick of this feeling."

Scotland were hesitant against the Auld Enemy on matchday one but for just over an hour in Wales had the look of a side that was capable of beating one of the world's top sides.

They responded to Gareth Davies' early opener in impressive manner and levelled with Tommy Seymour's try.

It was a close affair, with Scotland edging the possession stats on 51 per cent. Skipper Greig Laidlaw's flawless kicking ensured they were 16-13 up with 14 minutes to go.

But the reality unfortunately is that when the game entered key late periods, Scotland found themselves stumped trying to unpick the Welsh defence. Their opponents, though, had no problem figuring out where the chinks in the Dark Blues' rear guard were located.

Jamie Roberts slammed through to put the hosts at the Principality Stadium ahead before the careering George North danced his way in for the third. Duncan Taylor's last-gasp touchdown for the visitors was too late to halt the home side's party.

Cotter will have to address the fact that once again his side failed to turn up in the second half. In their last nine games, they have managed just 32 second-half points.

Jackson, though, insists the root of the problem is not in the players' minds.

"We will have to look at it and see what really accounted for the errors and where we put ourselves under pressure," he said.

"It's a hard one to take but we're going to have to push on. We've got a big game in two weeks against Italy and we know we need to go there and get back to winning ways.

"We haven't become a bad team overnight and we still had a great World Cup.

"However that's done and we're now back into the business end of the Six Nations. These places are tough. Wales are a top team so to come down here and push them close shows we're in a good places. Just think of two years ago when we were here.

"But I don't think it's a mental problem. We did make errors but our decision-makers are good and used to being in pressure situations and generally make the right decisions."

Tommy Seymour and Richie Gray each finished the game with a sprained ankle and face a race against time to be fit against Italy on February 27.

Blair Cowan also suffered a concussion against Wales while Stuart Hogg picked up a back strain but is not considered an immediate concern.

Sean Maitland, who missed out on the match with an injured thigh, has returned to his club London Irish for further assessments.

Should the Scots lose in Rome, Cotter - who suffered a Six Nations whitewash in his first campaign as head coach - will face serious questions over his leadership.

But Jackson said: "Hopefully it won't come to that and we'll get the win which puts that to bed."


From Belfast Telegraph