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Mixed feelings for Johnson

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson could not decide on his mood following a 42-17 win over Japan after the visitors gave his side a fright in the early stages of the second half at Murrayfield.

With Scotland leading 11-3 at half-time following the first of home debutant Tommy Seymour's two tries, Japan came roaring back after the restart when Kenki Fukuoka crossed twice in 10 minutes, the first less than three minutes into the half.

But both times Scotland hit back almost immediately through Greig Laidlaw and Glasgow wing Seymour.

And Scotland broke clear in the final 20 minutes of their first viagogo Autumn Test when Alasdair Dickinson, Duncan Weir and Sean Lamont, who had a first-half try disallowed, all crossed when Japan were down to 14 men.

Despite watching his side scoring five second-half tries, Johnson was unimpressed with some of the defending and admitted concern when there was just one point in the scoreline after 54 minutes.

"I wasn't feeling real good at that stage, put it that way," Johnson said. "The negative was the tries, the positive is every time they scored a try we scored one straight back.

"I was thinking to myself, what does it take (apart from) the catalyst of them scoring a try for us to have a bit of urgency with the ball?

"So I'm caught between 50-50 looking at the positive and the negative. It depends how good my night is."

Both of Japan's tries came after scrums but Johnson was looking at the fuller picture.

"I need to have a good look at it but the fact is it cost us two tries," he said.

"They were two wonderful tries, they finished them off really well.

"I'm concerned with the outcome because I thought we were soft in letting them score. So there are defensive issues.

"In the scrum itself, we started really well so I am a bit bemused why it changed."

Johnson, whose side face South Africa next Sunday, added: "I'm not a big fan of the fact that, if things go right up front, that gives you due right to do something silly behind.

"We have to make it harder for teams to score against us. And while they finished them really well, some really basic structural errors cost us."

But Johnson's overall assessment appeared largely positive.

"It was a good Test match," he said. "I said before the game they are a formidable side now and a really good rugby nation, so it was a tough test and they contributed to a reasonable spectacle."

And the Australian hailed "wonderful" man-of-the-match Tim Swinson, the Glasgow lock who was also making his home debut.

"He did superb," Johnson said. "He supported our faith in him to select him first up.

"He had some good form with Glasgow but not great form and It was really, really nice to see him play great rugby. He really manned up.

"I don't always agree with the awards but that one we picked in the box with about 15 to go."

Japan's acting head coach, Scott Wisemantel, felt yellow cards to Ryu Koliniasi Holani and Ayumu Goromaru in the final quarter had a major impact on the scoreline.

Wisemantel, who is leading the team after Eddie Jones suffered a stroke, said: "It's probably not an accurate reflection simply because three of those tries were when our players were in the sin bin. We are disappointed. We went out there to win.

"Whilst the players are disappointed they have taken a fair few positives out the match.

"We came here to attack and run the ball and we achieved that. The game tempo let us down a bit, particularly after the sin-binnings, we should have slowed it down."

Meanwhile, Scotland skipper Kelly Brown played down concerns over the Murrayfield pitch, which has been plagued by worms.

An attempt to deal with the infestation with garlic spray was unsuccessful and there were times when six ground staff were working on areas of the pitch during play.

"Obviously it cuts up a bit but that's not up to us," Brown said. "We know the pitch is going to cut up and it's up to us to make sure we deal with it as best we can."


From Belfast Telegraph