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Johnson: We paid price for naivety

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson admitted his team were nai ve as they went down 21-15 to Australia at Murrayfield.

A largely-similar Dark Blues side to the one which was turned over by South Africa last weekend responded by putting on a brave display against the Wallabies in the final autumn international.

But Johnson admitted his side's demise was largely of their own making as they got many of the big decisions wrong.

He said: "We were a bit naive. We had some youngsters out there trying to work their way through a couple of things.

"We had chances but we just didn't take them but, yeah, it was naivety in some parts of our game.

"We've got some guys in the infancy of their Test careers and it's probably come earlier for them than they expected. But they didn't wilt.

"Without getting too personal, we just let ourselves down with a call or a jump or technique that put us under pressure.

"But that will come - it's not a big thing that we can't fix.

"What pleased me most is when they were under pressure they never succumbed. I've always said I want the right people in the room. They have to have the right character and make up and I saw that.

"I have mixed emotions about today."

The Wallabies touched down twice, first through full-back Isreal Folau after he combined brilliantly with fly-half Quade Cooper on 27 minutes, and then again three minutes after the interval when Chris Feauai-Sautia grabbed his second try in as many matches as he finished off a flowing move along their back division.

Christian Leali'ifano added 11 points with the boot but failed to add a real gloss to the scoreline as he missed five penalties and a conversion.

For the Scots, Greig Laidlaw struck five penalties himself as they came within a converted score of an upset but Johnson's team still lack the killer instinct needed to threaten the major nations.

The head coach had dropped Ruaridh Jackson after the Glasgow stand-off was responsible for two of the four tries run up by the Springboks last Sunday.

He was replaced by his Warriors team-mate Duncan Weir but Johnson admitted the 22-year-old still has much to learn if he is too succeed at Test level.

"I like Duncan," he said. "He did some good things and some poor things. When I first met him I thoughy he played in the pocket too much. I told him pockets are for jeans so get in the line.

"He has a good skill set that is made for Test rugby but he was naive today too."

Johnson has used the November encounters with Japan, South Africa and the Wallabies to expand his squad further and expand their reserves of experience after dishing out 10 new caps during the summer.

He now turns his attention towards the RBS 6 Nations, which start in February, but insists the group is not closed to more new faces coming in.

"I can't say (what my team would be for the Six Nations) - it's unfair to form," he insisted. "The players have another six or seven games to play before then.

"Today was about expansion of the squad. We did what we needed to do. We had a look at some players and that adds to the competition for places.

"I want to see that competition over the next six or seven weeks. These guys have to work to get in this Scotland team.

"But tonight, I was really pleased with their effort and their grit."

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie had handed one-match bans to six players after they were caught up in a late-night drinking scandal last week, b ut he insisted the row never threatened to disrupt his plans.

"We have moved on from that issue earlier in the week," he said. "The media have had different discussions about it but that happens.

"For us we have moved on and it wasn't a feature of my pre-match address.

"We spoke a lot about Scotland and the detail of that. That issue had nothing to do with how the team was formed."


From Belfast Telegraph