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Johnson: We must limit our mistakes


Kelly Brown, pictured, returns to captain Scotland.

Kelly Brown, pictured, returns to captain Scotland.

Kelly Brown, pictured, returns to captain Scotland.

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson admits his side will suffer another day to forget against Australia on Saturday if they make the same kind of mistakes which cost them dear last weekend.

The Dark Blues host the Wallabies in the final autumn international at Murrayfield still hurting from Sunday's 28-0 drubbing by South Africa.

Johnson - who has made four changes to his pack for Saturday - insisted the players could still take pride from certain aspects of that display but was clear when he said further errors would be punished in a similar harsh manner.

He told Press Association Sport: "The boys are disappointed after last weekend but it would be an overreaction to say they are shattered. It's not about that. I think they showed some good things.

"We acknowledge the fact that we let ourselves down in certain aspects and gave South Africa two obvious chances which they took. When you are up against quality sides they will take them.

"But they were brave and I thought they showed good composure after a poor start. However, against the top teams you can rarely make mistakes and not be punished.

"If we give Australia four chances, they will probably take them too. So we have to limit our mistakes.

"And we have to learn to take our chances too. The opposition will always give you chances. We gave South Africa four which they took but we probably had four as well. However, we didn't take ours."

South Africa ran in three scores before half-time and added a fourth after the break last weekend as they blew away Scottish hopes that Johnson's team could build on a promising showing against the Springboks during the summer.

Back-row forward Alasdair Strokosch claimed the side had gone backwards since that June display in Nelspruit - which ended with the Boks winning 30-17 - but Johnson disagreed.

He said: "I don't think it is a case of us going backwards, I just think it was a different team on Sunday that is at a different stage."

Johnson named half of the team that will face the Wallabies on Wednesday morning, but will wait until Thursday before confirming which of 11 candidates are chosen to fill the seven back positions from the start.

The delay has been sparked by a leg injury sustained by wing Tommy Seymour but Johnson is still hopeful he may be involved.

Kelly Brown will resume the captaincy duties after sitting out the South Africa defeat.

The Saracens flanker is one of four changes to the pack as Glasgow pair Ryan Grant and Tim Swinson return alongside Montpellier's Johnnie Beattie, with Alasdair Dickinson, Richie Gray, Strokosch and John Barclay dropping out.

"We have quite a lot of injuries in the back division at the moment so we are restricted in our choices," said Johnson.

"It's a short turnaround between the games, only six days, so we will give the guys as much time as we can before naming the rest of the team.

"I'm hoping that we can have a training session tomorrow and we can finalise things after that.

"As for the forwards, we have looked at these fixtures game by game but also as a series. We decided we wanted competition for places and the two locks - Ryan Grant and Tim Swinson - are the form players in that position and this is their reward for that form.

"Ryan will come back in and it's a chance for him to show us his abilities. There's a good battle going on there with Dicko and that's good for competition.

"As for Kelly, he's had a week off but now it's a good chance to get him back in fully rested. He comes in beside Johnnie and that gives us a chance to see how they do as a combination."

Australia have suspended five players involved in a late-night drinking session last week for the Murrayfield trip but Johnson said: "I don't think all five of those blokes were going to play so let's not dramatise it.

"But I haven't given Australia much thought this week. It's about us and how we do. We've spoken about South Africa making the most of our mistakes. We need to stop making those mistakes.

"Australia can worry about their issues but I'm in the Scotland camp and I'll worry about Scottish issues."