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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Sat, 13 February 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
France v Ireland 14h25 Paris
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Northampton Saints v London Irish 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Worcester Warriors v Bath 15h00 Sixways
Wales v Scotland 16h50 Cardiff
Sun, 14 February 2016
Italy v England 14h00 Rome
Saracens v Wasps 16h00 Allianz Park
Munster v Ospreys 17h00 Irish Independent Park
Mon, 15 February 2016
NMMU-Madibaz v Maties 14h45 Port Elizabeth
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Bloemfontein
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Pietermaritzburg
TUT v UWC 16h30 Pretoria
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 16h30 Pretoria
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Thu, 18 February 2016
TUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Pretoria
Fort Hare v Wits 16h30 East London
Fri, 19 February 2016
Zebre v Leinster 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 12 February 2016
Scarlets v Edinburgh 22 | 21
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 26 | 14
Leinster v Zebre 52 | 0
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 13 | 10
Thu, 11 February 2016
Dragons v Connacht 21 | 26
Mon, 08 February 2016
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 17 | 23
UJ v NMMU-Madibaz 19 | 12
Maties v CUT-Ixias 40 | 0
UWC v UKZN-Impi 13 | 24
Wits v TUT 53 | 0
UP-Tuks v NWU-Pukke 15 | 38
Sun, 07 February 2016
Ireland v Wales 16 | 16
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 11 | 14
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 20 | 13
Sat, 06 February 2016
Scotland v England 9 | 15
SIX NATIONS
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Team P W D L Pts
England 1 1 0 0 2
France 1 1 0 0 2
Ireland 1 0 1 0 1
Wales 1 0 1 0 1
Italy 1 0 0 1 0
Scotland 1 0 0 1 0