Six Nations: Scotland can use pain of defeat - Blair Cowan

By Jamie LyallFor BBC Scotland
Scotland have lost all three of their Six Nations matches
Scotland were outscored three tries to one at Murrayfield

Scotland can use the agony of their 22-19 defeat to Italy to spur them on to a first victory at Twickenham since 1983, insists Blair Cowan.

"It's key we react positively," said the flanker after a third consecutive Six Nations loss.

"We're hurting. I can honestly say I've never been this gutted in my whole career and I think that's a good thing

"It gives us passion to go to Twickenham and England and do exactly what Italy did to us."

A converted last-minute penalty-try consigned the Murrayfield hosts to their third straight loss of the tournament - all by a single score margin.

Scotland looked to have weathered the storm after winning a scrum penalty deep in their own 22 in the dying minutes.

However, a missed touch handed the visitors field position, and the knockout blow from the Italian pack rendered Cowan distraught.

"I never thought we were going to lose that game until the very end," said the 28-year-old.

"We created plenty, but it was just turnovers in silly places. Our penalty count was down, you wouldn't think so but it is, but it was just those critical areas of the field we gave away those penalties."

To avoid a fourth Wooden Spoon since 2004 Scotland will need to win at Twickenham or stop Ireland at Murrayfield and Cowan is adamant the squad are progressing.

"We've been building for some time now from the autumn," he said.

"We know how good we are and we have shown it in games against top sides.

"Even though we may not be winning the games, every game we've taken a step forward. Even with the loss. I feel this game may be more of step sideways, but we're very strong.

"The beauty of this game is we've got chance to turn this around - no one will expect us to, but the way we feel and the vibe we've got in the camp, we definitely believe we can."

Mark Bennett scored Scotland's solitary try at Murrayfield
Mark Bennett scored Scotland's solitary try at Murrayfield

This was Italy's second Six Nations triumph at Murrayfield, after winning in Edinburgh in 2007, and Cowan's team-mate, Mark Bennett, who scored his first Test try in the reverse, argued that putting right minor flaws would yield major benefits.

"We were putting ourselves in great positions and continued to do so for most of game - we created decent chances but didn't take them," said the Glasgow centre.

"We just need to be more clinical - we're creating opportunities and manipulating teams the way we want to, we're just not taking the chances.

"Communication as well - making sure we know when opportunities are there, because we are making these chances and have the potential to tear teams apart, we've just not quite clicked yet.

"I think we're doing a lot of good things, we're just not quite the finished article yet."

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