Three soft tries left Scotland with a mountain to climb against Ireland.
Josh Strauss carried heroically but it is more than a one man job and he ran out of steam in the second-half. A lack of alternative carriers meant Scotland couldn’t get on the front foot to manufacture the quick ball they thrive off.
If you want to be a serious force in the Six Nations then you can’t play 25 phases on your opponents’ line, as Scotland did at the end of the first half, and come away with nothing.
If Johnny Sexton is going to bravely take the ball to the line to commit defenders before releasing his team-mates, then it is inevitable that he is going to come into contact with a few hard shoulders, and sometimes that will be after the ball has gone. It comes with the territory.
And people in glass houses (with green jerseys on) shouldn’t throw stones.
Their England ordeal has knocked some rhythm out of Ireland’s swagger, but they still know how to win games, and their missing mojo is most definitely retrievable.
Retaining freshness and building continuity is a fine balancing act, and Wales will be hoping that juggling their playing resources mid Championship will have the desired effect of building depth rather create confusion ahead of their England showdown in two weeks’ time.
Not only have Italy now lost 19 Six Nations matches on the bounce, but the prospect of them breaking that duck seems ever more remote, and head coach Conor O’Shea’s coat appears to be hung on an increasingly shoogly peg.
France didn’t have an answer to England, and it wasn’t clear if they were even looking for one, but they are at their most compelling when the game loses its structure, and they will have watched Scotland’s error-strewn performance against Ireland with great interest.
England will win a Grand Slam if they get a result in Cardiff in a fortnight’s time.
More coverage from Scotland v Ireland this weekend: