Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Hamilton calls for harsh assessment

Jim Hamilton felt Scotland were 'significantly better' than against South Africa
Jim Hamilton felt Scotland were 'significantly better' than against South Africa

Scotland need to be brutally honest about where they are going wrong if they want to beat the best nations in the world, lock Jim Hamilton has claimed.

The giant Montpellier second-rower celebrated his 50th cap for the Dark Blues as they took on Australia at Murrayfield on Sunday.

But while it was a brave display against the Wallabies, Hamilton insists there is no point hiding from the errors that cost them the 21-15 defeat in the capital.

He told Press Association Sport: "If we are taking the positives out of it, we were significantly better than we were last week against South Africa.

"But we still struggled at those crucial times when we needed to be clinical. The chances we got, we didn't take.

"If you look at these huge southern hemisphere nations, if they get one opportunity, they make it count by scoring.

"We are obviously not quite at that level but we can be pleased with the fight and resolve that we showed in some parts against Australia.

"We were in a good place going into half-time but the disappointing thing was that we allowed them to get a second try just after the restart.

"But if we want to move on as a team, we can't just talk about positives. We have to be harsh in our assessment of ourselves.

"We need to be brutally honest with each other but we have got the coaches who will do that.

"It's not about blowing smoke into the team and telling us all how great we are. Frankly, if you don't win then it really doesn't matter how well you have played."

Scott Johnson's side competed ably for much of the game, with Greig Laidlaw kicking 15 points to at least keep their score tally ticking over after last week's 28-0 blank against the Springboks.

But while they found the task of crossing the whitewash an impossible feat, largely due to a lack of ingenuity and imagination at the crucial moments, Australia produced two incisive moves to register tries by Israel Falou and Chris Feauai-Sautia either side of half-time.

On a more positive note, Johnson was able to field 20 players in the eight forward positions across the three November Tests with Japan, South Africa and the Wallabies as he continues his mission to increase Scotland's reserves of experience at international level.

Hamilton insists that will only help the nation close the gap on the big guns of the world game, even if it may limit his chances to build on his 50th cap.

"We need to have guys who are experienced at international level if we are to move forward," said the 31-year-old. "You need to have tasted those high-pressure games if you are to cope at this level but we have that now.

"I've just won my 50th cap but it will be extremely difficult for me to now keep hold of my place with the news guys coming in. I'm not going to keep my place forever, that's for sure.

"But I'm desperate to play for this team and I will need to do my best for Scotland if I'm to do so. I'm well aware of the competition but that's great for Scottish Rugby, the team and me as well."

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