Stuart Lancaster celebrated the only try of last weekend’s Calcutta Cup match with such reckless abandon he smacked his hand straight into the booth ceiling and suffered a cut finger that required a couple of stitches.
While being far from burnished by the paucity of the England team’s performance his reputation did not sustain quite as much damage.
The same cannot be said for opposite number Andy Robinson, however. Robinson’s digits remained in tact but the Scotland coach presided over a performance so stunning in its inaccuracy it is a wonder his squad managed to find its way to the ground at all.
Next to Robinson was the hapless Gregor Townsend, the ‘attack’ coach who has now seen his backline return tryless from their last four internationals, a record that would shame Nova Scotia never mind a ‘leading’ Test nation.
England twice, Argentina and – wait for it – Georgia, have constructed a defensive wall so large, wide and unfathomable in its complexity the Scottish brains trust have been able to find their way neither round nor over it. Not once.
Privately they might claim they don’t have the fliers in the threequarters nor the magicians at half-back but they should not take succour from that fallacy because Chris Cusiter, Mike Blair, Sean Lamont and Max Evans are all very decent footballers who would surely prosper in a different environment.
But England shouldn’t be too smug. For all the talk of ‘pride’ from their new captain Chris Robshaw, they took little away from Murrayfield other than the silverware.
Even then the Calcutta Club must have given serious consideration to demanding the oldest trophy in the sport be returned until the contestants learn to master the basics.
There was no sign of Lancaster’s new playing style and barely any evidence to suggest his coaching staff and players had either identified or were capable of implementing a way through the Scots.
The forwards seemed unable to produce quick ball or mount a driven maul worthy of the name and the backs crabbed across the pitch in the hope of a gap rather than the expectation of creating one.
In the end it came down to a pitiful charge-down try to prompt a reaction from Lancaster that must have been inspired by relief rather than exhilaration.
Indeed, it was a Six Nations encounter notable only for the lack of skill and excellence on view and one that was shamed by its association with previous glorious encounters between the two countries.