Martin Corry has started to take stock of his first Six Nations Championship defeat as England captain, admitting: "It hurts like hell."
England had reeled off four successive tournament victories since Corry replaced an injured Jason Robinson for last season’s Twickenham clash against Italy.
But Scotland’s richly-deserved Calcutta Cup triumph at Murrayfield destroyed English Grand Slam hopes and left them needing to beat France in Paris on March 12 or their title hopes will also realistically be over.
"We have said every game we want to keep on improving, and we did not do that," said Corry, following an 18-12 defeat that represented England’s 11th loss from 22 Tests since Martin Johnson lifted the World Cup in Sydney.
"In terms of our progress, it is massively disappointing. Playing for England and losing hurts like hell.
"I thought the contact area was the critical one of the game. We didn’t make in-roads, and the holes were not there.
"You have got to take your hat off to the way Scotland defended – they made a lot of tackles and they did not miss many. We got ourselves in a position to win the game, but, unfortunately, we did not close it out."
Several parts of the England side will come under close scrutiny in the build-up to Paris, with an ineffective back-row unit among those areas warranting attention.
British & Irish Lion Corry was replaced by Lawrence Dallaglio after 65 minutes in Edinburgh, and it could be the skipper is moved from number eight to blindside flanker against France, allowing Dallaglio a first England start for more than 18 months.
"We were losing, and the coaches called it," added Corry, reflecting on his early exit.
"You want to do something to change the way the game is going, and there is no ego about it at all.
"I want to be part of a successful England side, and if they (the coaches) feel that was the right course of action, then I back it 100 per cent.
"The result is a huge setback, and the important thing is we put our hands up and say we let ourselves down, but I still feel confident in what we are doing and how we are
progressing as a side.
"We have also got to realise we still feel we are a good team and we still feel we are in a position to take on France."