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Six Nations 2022: Defensive captain Chris Harris seeks huge improvement in Dublin

Chris Harris scored two tries in Rome.
Chris Harris scored two tries in Rome.

Scotland’s defensive lapses in the last two games are just loss of focus – not good enough, but easily fixable, believes defensive captain Chris Harris.

Harris was missing with a head injury for the second half against France but accepted that the last quarter in Italy was a drop in standards he won’t tolerate.

‘We allowed ourselves to lose that focus’

“We’ve looked at that and have reviewed it. We are forever learning,” he said.

“There was almost a lack of concentration. We switched off in that moment and were pretty disappointed with how we allowed ourselves to lose that focus.

“It’s happened a lot in my career in club games. You go ahead by a certain amount of points and you sort of switch off a bit and the opposition come back into it.

‘It’s a poor way to finish and it shouldn’t be that way. It’s another learning for us that we’ve got to be better in that area.”

It’s been a tough championship for the centre, and two tries in Rome did a lot to help. But there’s still those who are focusing on his ambitious pass that escaped Stuart Hogg against France when the Scots could have led that game.

‘If that’s a fraction closer…’

“These moments just happen so fast,” he reflected. “If that’s a fraction closer, everyone is like: ‘What a pass’.

“But it wasn’t a great pass. It’s fine margins. I’m experienced enough now that I can park these things and move on.

“It did play on my mind a bit over that week. But you have to just get over it and get back on the horse.”

Rome showed how well he parked it, and that wouldn’t have happened a few years ago, he admitted.

“Completely,” he said to the suggestion an error would eat him up as a young player. “It takes someone with a strong mind to deal with things like that. Everyone’s very different when it comes to that sort of thing.

“I’ve had other moments in games, not that one, but earlier in my career where I’ve had a bit of a shocker and it’s really affected me. Back then, I wouldn’t have played well for two or three months after it.

‘It’s moments like that you remember, and realise that you can get over it.”

‘This one would be massive’

The aim is now to bow out the championship on a high, and a win in Dublin at last after a 12-year gap would certainly be that.

“Ireland are a very good side aren’t they? They’ve been quality for a long time and to go there to play them is especially hard.

“It’s St Paddy’s weekend as well so the crowd are going to be up for it. I’ve only played there once with a crowd and I remember it being pretty intense.

“To win this one would be massive. It’s the difference between finishing fifth and potentially third. It would be quality for us as a group to finish on a high, in what’s been a bit of an up and down tournament.

“It wasn’t an amazing performance in Italy but we got the five points at the end of the day. Everything is just now focused on Ireland and trying to improve our own game and give it a good crack over there.”

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