Despite the scoreline at Twickenham, I believe Scotland can take a lot of heart from their performance against England. The guys stuck in very well, particularly in the first half, and in the end were outdone by the strength in depth and superior finishing power which the English possess. As I had suggested before kick off, Josh Lewsey and Jason Robinson were the key figures and their pace was just too much for the Scots.
The positive thing has to be the way in which Scotland held their own before half time having spent 15 minutes with two players in the sin bin. At 16-9 they were still in the game, but it's the capacity to step up a gear which gives England such a big advantage. They have numerous game-breakers, which Scotland unfortunately do not.
I don't think the Scots should feel hard done by having been on the wrong end of a 40-9 defeat. Before hand, Brian Moore and I had discussed the match and we both felt the English would win by a margin of around 30 points, and their performance probably deserved this. Scotland again failed to cross the try line and even more worrying was the fact that Clive Woodward's side were probably not playing to their full potential.
The gap between Scotland and England seems to be widening and there are a number of reasons for this. Everyone recognised that England had the resources to be the best side in the Northern Hemisphere if they got their act together, which they have done in the last few years. Their players are bigger, fitter and more talented, and they are now picking their best team consistently. You also have to look at the domestic set-ups - the Zurich Premiership is of a much higher standard than competitions in Scotland and Wales, and I think this is reflected in the current state of international rugby.
The real challenge for Ian McGeechan's side now is to step up from their Twickenham performance against Italy, which is not going to be easy. I must say that I've been impressed by the Italians and the type of game they are playing under John Kirwan. Their performances have not been stereotypical of Italian sides - they are playing with a lot of continuity, passing the ball out of tackles, and they have scored tries against every team so far. That is saying something when you consider Scotland's only tries of the tournament came against a poor Welsh side.
It is, however, a game which Scotland must win to ensure they finish above Wales and Italy in the RBS 6 Nations table. I still don't think the current side is our best, and I would very much like to see Chris Paterson given a chance at fly-half. He's the most talented back in the Scottish squad but he never gets the ball. Mike Blair, though a little bit young at the moment, could prove to be an excellent scrum-half, and we have a world-class number eight in Simon Taylor. With those three at the back of the scrum, Scotland would finally have the structure to produce effective, attacking rugby.
You can read more of David's views on this season's RBS 6 Nations in his column for The Sunday Post.