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Maitland looks to improve on opening effort

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Sportal.co.nz     04 Feb 2013     Getty Images

The New Zealand-born wing's try on his debut saw Scotland take a 10th-minute lead yesterday, but a first win at Twickenham in 30 years proved beyond the visitors as England lifted the Calcutta Cup with a 38-18 triumph.

Italy travel to Murrayfield on Saturday with many expecting it to be a Wooden Spoon decider in just the second round of five fixtures. Scotland lost in Rome in the final round last season to finish sixth in the tournament.

Maitland, who joined Glasgow Warriors in October from the Crusaders, knows Scotland have plenty of room for progress.

"You can't be negative," said the 24-year-old, who qualifies for Scotland through his paternal grandparents.

"You've got to be positive. There were heaps of positives: scoring tries and staying in the game.

"But you've got to look at the things you need to work on. There are a lot of things that we need to work on, let's be honest.

"It's just a shame we didn't do the jersey justice; all the boys are very disappointed."

England, bidding to show their December defeat of world champions New Zealand was not a one-off, demonstrated moments of class, while Scotland's few instances of quality were all too fleeting.

Maitland and his back-three colleagues Tim Visser and Stuart Hogg, who was influential in Maitland's try and scored Scotland's second late on, were peripheral figures as England dominated for much of the match.

On the few occasions they were involved, Maitland, Visser and Hogg showed their potential to trouble any opposition.

The Warriors wing hopes he has done enough to retain his place against the Azzurri in the first of three successive home matches.

"Things have gone really fast for me," said Maitland, as he reflected on his Test debut.

"I've only been here for a couple of months. To be playing Test rugby for Scotland is a dream come true.

"It's just the start, hopefully, for me. Going back home to Murrayfield is going to be special. Hopefully I get to play and experience Murrayfield for the first time.

"I've still got a lot to prove to the people of Scotland, getting selected having not been in the country for long.

"I scored my first try in my first Test. I was happy with the first 10 minutes but the next 60 minutes I wasn't too happy.

"There's a few things we need to work on. The tackle area and getting our backs involved. We [the backs] were a bit of a myth out there.

"We were more frustrated, all three of us. There's a lot of talent to be shown in our backline. It's just one of those things."

In imperious first five-eighths Owen Farrell and impressive debutant Billy Twelvetrees, England won the midfield exchanges from their Scotland counterparts Ruaridh Jackson and Matt Scott, and it reflected on the rest of the backline.

While ruing missed chances for Scotland, Maitland admired the performance of England, who were fearsome at the breakdown in another key area of the game.

"England took their chances, they used the width really well, spread the ball wide and we were left on our heels a bit," he added.

"They used the ball a lot like a Southern Hemisphere team."

Scotland could be forced into a change for the Italy fixture after flanker Alasdair Strokosch departed in the opening quarter at Twickenham with a cheekbone injury.

Edinburgh number eight David Denton, Strokosch's replacement, had an error-strewn game, so Glasgow's Robert Harley could be drafted in, unless interim Scotland boss Scott Johnson opts to select a conventional openside flanker in John Barclay. Captain Kelly Brown could then switch to the blindside.

Hooker Dougie Hall started for the first time in six years but also made an early exit with a suspected knee injury.

Ross Ford, who came on for Hall, insisted it was too early to be considering the Wooden Spoon.

Ford, who toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and was skipper during last season's ill-fated campaign, said: "There's no need to press the panic button just yet.

"It's only the second game. We've just finished the first game.

"There were positives in that game which we can do again and the negatives - the tackle contest - that's where we need to work harder.

"There's stuff in that game we can work on and we can be far more potent."