Though it might be wise to wait until after the men’s autumn tests, the time is fast approaching for a big debate on the future of Scottish rugby, and while I am reluctant to say there is a panacea for all our sport’s ills, and they are legion, I have no doubt that cold hard cash will go a long way to solving problems and creating a proper sustainable future for rugby in Scotland.

Money needs to be invested in every area of our sport, but I would make a special plea for support for the women’s game and the grass roots across the board.

In the end, Scotland’s women crashed out of the World Cup with an expected heavy defeat by the host nation New Zealand. Yet in their performances against Wales and Australia, Scotland showed that they have great courage and commitment and no little skill. They just need to move to the next level and the way ahead is clear for the women themselves and for the Scottish Rugby Union.

There must be serious investment in the women’s national squad and more full-time fully professional contracts are necessary. There must be much greater investment in the women’s game at the grassroots, and women must be encouraged to play a part in all sectors of the sport here – the example of international referee Hollie Davidson being one to follow.

Much of what I have said about the women’s game applies to all of Scottish rugby. We are nowhere near getting over the pandemic and no matter what people think or what they are told by craven politicians, Covid-19 is not a thing of the past. I would contend, for example, that while it may no longer be the law that people war masks while attending rugby internationals, it might still be wise to do so because the medical experts say that another wave of infections possibly with a new variant is just around the corner, and the joint coronavirus and flu vaccine has only been offered to the over-50s so far. I don’t want to be a killjoy, but It would be disastrous if Murrayfield next month was to be the scene of a super-spreader event.

To repair the damage of Covid-19, we really need huge investment in our sport, and funnily enough, no one called me up to offer a billion quid after my suggestion last week. Maybe they thought I would just stick it on the first favourite at Musselburgh races – they might not have been wrong there, though I should point out that I’m still counting my winnings on my bet that Rishi Sunak would become Prime Minister after Liz Disastruss.

The way ahead for Scottish rugby is for the SRU not to gamble with the money it’s got but to take the lead and find money for investment. I hae ma doots that will happen, not least because I am still awaiting the anticipated private sector investment in Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors announced some years ago. But when the governing body owns the two subsidiaries – for what is what they are – and refuses to cede control over contracts and salaries, then no sane business professional is going to put a solitary sou, never mind millions of quids, into either club.

I understand the SRU is actively seeking various sources of investment, and let’s face it, it would be bordering on criminal inaction if they were not doing so. This I do know, however, and that is the truism that nobody wants to be associated with failure at any level. Everyone involved in Scottish rugby must start thinking about something we are perfectly able to do but rarely achieve – winning consistently.

Which brings me to this weekend’s men’s international against Australia. I contend that the Scottish men’s national squad is on the brink of doing some remarkable stuff in the next 18 months or so as we now have a squad that has strength in depth and proven winners in most positions. I don’t want to get involved in the whole Gregor Townsend v Finn Russell spat, but it does prove that we have options for the No. 10 jersey and I tend to believe that Finn was stood down for the reason Townsend implied – inconsistency. There’s also Finn’s own theories expounded in an interview with Mark Palmer of The Times last month – he’s just turned 30 and with his partner Emma Canning expecting their first child next months, Finn says he won’t be the one doing the drinking after matches, though he made an obvious implication against Townsend that the coach’s job “is to understand the players and know how to interact with them on an individual basis.”

Every player in the squad knows how important this game will be. Yes, we are missing key players because it’s outside the international window, but those who will turn out on Saturday are perfectly capable of making it four wins in a row over the Wallabies. Then Scotland need to do it all again up to and including the World Cup.