Johnson comes under fire

Tue, 11 Feb 2014 19:16
Large scott johnson puzzled Large scott johnson scotland look Large kelly brown   scott johnson

Scotland great Finlay Calder said on Tuesday he had "no faith" in the coaching regime of Scott Johnson following the team's woeful start to the Six Nations.

Scotland great Finlay Calder said on Tuesday he had "no faith" in the coaching regime of Scott Johnson following the team's woeful start to the Six Nations.

Saturday's 0-20 Calcutta Cup defeat by England in Edinburgh followed an almost as comprehensive a loss to Ireland, with Scotland conceding 48 points in total in their opening two games and scoring just six in reply.

Australian coach Johnson, Scotland's 'interim' boss ahead of the arrival of New Zealand's Vern Cotter at the end of the season, has faced a torrent of criticism since last weekend's Murrayfield mauling.

Former flank Calder, who captained the British and Irish Lions to a series win in Australia in 1989, was particularly scathing, saying Johnson's decision to drop captain Kelly Brown for the Calcutta Cup clash was one of several baffling decisions.

"I have no faith in the coaches," Calder told the Daily Mail.

"The dropping of Kelly Brown beggars belief, to take off our team's best performer [No.8] David Denton with half an hour to go was incomprehensible and to send two front row players out for the start of the second half then hook [replace] them after three minutes doesn't make sense.

"The team needs consistency in selection," added Calder, a member of Scotland's 1990 Grand Slam side.

Calder said there were fundamental problems that Scottish rugby, which boasts just two professional teams in Glasgow and Edinburgh, needed to address.

"It is not about whether we can turn it round in the next three games, we need to start thinking about the next 10 years," said the 56-year-old, who won 34 Scotland caps and three for the Lions.

"We have to harbour our meagre playing and financial resources better, so I would bin the Sevens squad as soon as the Commonwealth Games [in Glasgow in July and August] are out the way because it is doing nothing for developing young, professional players - which is supposed to be its core function."

And with uncertainty surrounding the future of both the Celtic League and European Cup, Calder said a player exodus to wealthy clubs in England and France was something Scotland would have to face.

"We have to accept where we are and what we can afford. If that means all of our best players go to England and France for big wages, then so be it.

"We have the IRB [International Rugby Board] guidelines there to ensure that they are still available for Scotland."

Immediate attention has focused on Scotland's next Six Nations match, away to Italy in Rome on February 22.

Italy too have lost both their opening fixtures but, unlike Scotland, they have at least scored tries, with the Scots' managing a mere two Greig Laidlaw penalties against Ireland.

Former Scotland and Lions coach Ian McGeechan admitted Monday the whitewash defeat by England had been "very painful".

"We didn't look as though we were going to score, never mind win," he said. "Italy now is certainly a very big game, without a doubt."

AFP

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0