Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Johnson: Still room for improvement

Scott Johnson was happy with Scotland's defence against France

Caretaker coach Scott Johnson insists Scotland cannot accept half-measures if they are to shake off their tag as international rugby's nearly men.

The Australian put up a staunch defence of his players' guts and determination after they went down 23-16 to France in Paris as they closed out their RBS 6 Nations campaign with a third defeat from five games.

Johnson said: "We defended really well - I thought we were great in our resolve. But we let ourselves down in other areas."

He added: "However, I asked the guys at the start of the tournament not to send me out to defend the indefensible. But that never happened. They never put me in that position.

"From a progress point of view, I look at some things and say 'Gee that is fantastic' and then the next day I am disappointed.

"I was really, really proud of our defence. That was superb. But we let ourselves down in some of our kick-return stuff. We dropped a lot of balls and put ourselves under pressure.

"So there has been progress but like all things, it doesn't improve as quick as you'd like.

"But we have got to get rid of this tag that near enough is good enough. We've got to take our opportunities to put teams to bed."

As to whether interim head coach Johnson will be the man who will take Scotland forward, question marks still remain.

"I've said from day one I will sit down with the appropriate people after the tournament and we will work it out," he said when asked about his future. "We will have a proper discussion, man to man."

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