Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Scott wants to give leaving gift

Scotland centre Matt Scott says the Dark Blues are desperate to land a win in Wales so they can present it to Scott Johnson as a goodbye gift.

The Australian interim head coach will step down from his post to take over as the Scottish Rugby Union's new director of rugby after the Cardiff clash.

Vern Cotter will take over as the new boss in the summer as the Scots shape up for next year's World Cup.

But first, Scott says the Scotland players hope to bring Johnson's 15-month reign to an end by handing him his sixth victory from 16 Tests.

Asked if the players would miss the jovial Johnson, t he Edinburgh back said: "We won't miss his bad jokes but as a coach, he has been very good to me personally. He has helped me a lot and has been driving me to become better and that has been the same for a lot of the other young guys.

"I will miss him but he will still be about Murrayfield in his new role.

"But with a change, you always get that sense of excitement for the future and with the new coach coming in, it will be nice to get a fresh perspective.

"We will be looking to put on a big performance for Scott this weekend and the boys will want to give him a good send-off."

Wales were disappointed to slump to a 29-18 defeat against England last week, while the Scots allowed France to snatch a 19-17 win in the dying seconds.

"Knowing the mentality of where you are after a loss, you are always keen to go out and prove the doubters wrong," said Scott. "They have been getting a bit of bad press down in Wales so I reckon they will be very dangerous side to face this week.

"It's probably not the best thing for us that they did lose last weekend but we will just need to match what they throw at us."

Scott played a key part for the Dark Blues as they shot to a surprise 14-9 half-time lead against Les Bleus, setting up Tommy Seymour to score the home team's brilliant second try at Murrayfield.

It was the fourth score the Scots had managed in two games against Italy and France.

And Scott says it is proof the side have finally learned how to attack with menace after two feeble displays saw them score just six points in the opening clashes with Ireland and the Auld Enemy.

"We do have a dangerous back-line," he insisted. "We have not been good in the past at executing and finishing off these chances but it was pleasing to in a classic back's move for Tommy's try.

"It was good for our confidence but we all know that we are capable of scoring tries from anywhere, we just need to recognise those chances and be more ruthless.

"I think we are doing that now. It shows we are maturing as an attacking side. There is still a long way to go.

"You look at the best sides in the world. They might not have the ball for 10 or 15 minutes but when they do get hold of it, they take their first sniff of a chance.

"We're moving in the right direction and four tries in the last two games is a not bad return."

Meanwhile, Johnson has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's final Six Nations fixture.

Dougie Fife, the 23-year-old Edinburgh winger, will win his first cap as the Dark Blues look to match last year's record of two wins from five games.

He comes in for the injured Seymour on the right flank, while Castres' Max Evans takes Sean Lamont's spot on the opposite side.

Johnson announced on Wednesday that injured flanker Johnnie Beattie would be replaced by Glasgow's Ryan Wilson.

The head coach was forced to delay naming his final selection as he waited for Evans and Seymour to prove their fitness.

While the former has been given the go-ahead to win his 42nd cap, there was disappointment from Seymour as an ankle knock counted him out after his try-scoring display against France last weekend.


From Belfast Telegraph