Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Johnson reminded of Rumble in the Jungle

Scott Johnson knows Scotland must improve despite the win over Ireland

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson watched his team do the rugby equivalent of the rope-a-dope then admitted it will not do if the team are to mount a serious RBS 6 Nations title challenge.

The Dark Blues barely had a sniff against Ireland in an awful first-half display at Murrayfield but somehow went in at the break a mere three points down. Ireland did add five more with Craig Gilroy's try three minutes into the second period but that concession was enough to finally shake the home side from their lethargy with Greig Laidlaw slotting four penalties to confirm a 12-8 win.

Johnson said: "We have got to be honest and say that that wasn't perfect from us. At half-time I felt like we must have watched Ali and Foreman or something. We were lulling them into some false sense of security."

He went on: "My neck was getting sore looking down to one end of the pitch.

"It's a funny game. I've played in games when I've been on the other side. It puts a bit of pressure on the team that should be in front. We went in at 3-0 down and I would have taken that. So we took it and we took our chances. We will enjoy the next 24 hours but we will also acknowledge that we have got to work on a few things."

Scotland captain Kelly Brown played as crucial a part as any of his team-mates as he cajoled a side under the cosh into a winning position.

But, with an eye on the stats that showed even at full-time, the Scots had managed just 29 per cent of the possession and were forced into 128 tackles just to keep the Irish at bay, he also was under no illusions about their standard of performance.

"We are really happy to get the win but we know we have to improve," he said. "Because if we play like that in two weeks' time against Wales, then we will not win that game."

The Scots had gone into the game looking to rid themselves of another nagging problem having not managed back-to-back wins in the same Six Nations 12 years since they had last toppled the Irish. With that hoodoo also now broken following their earlier win over Italy, Johnson believes his side have positioned themselves well for a title shoot-out.

The coach - whose side remain joint-top try scorers with Wales - said: "I think we are in it, yeah. There's no doubt we can compete. We have shown that once we get things right, we can hurt sides with the ball."

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre