Six Nations 2013: Sign of things to come for Scotland – Scott Johnson
Six Nations 2013: Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson says his side's 34-10 win against Italy should herald a new dawn
Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson believes his side’s impressive win over Italy – their first in seven Six Nations matches – should herald a new dawn.
Despite Italy’s buoyant mood after their victory over France last weekend, the Azzurri were firmly stopped in their tracks by a much-improved Scotland, who prevailed 34-10 at Murrayfield.
Johnson bemoaned his side’s inability to compete at the breakdown in last weekend’s 38-18 humbling to England but this time around they carried the fight to Italy and outclassed Jacques Brunel’s side.
Tim Visser scored his fifth try in seven internationals while Matt Scott, Stuart Hogg and Sean Lamont also crossed and Greig Laidlaw delivered a man-of-the-match performance, enjoying far more freedom to call the shots than at Twickenham.
And it was the fighting spirit displayed by Scotland – typified by prop Ryan Grant who soldiered on through injury – which pleased Johnson most.
“I liked the intent,” said Johnson, who was able to celebrate a first win since taking the Scotland reins.
“We spoke about the contact area all week and straight from the start I thought we were aggressive, turned over ball and when we had our chances we scored.
“It’s a great sign of things to come from this team. The ability to put Italy away was pleasing. But it all amounts to nothing unless we come here in two weeks time against Ireland and do it again.
“Ryan Grant got hurt early on, so to do what he did and battle it out in the scrums says so much about the lad and a lot for what we stand for here.
“I want to congratulate the team because they’ve put in a lot of hard work. They could have got down about last week but they got back on the horse. I’m proud of kids who do that and I’m proud to be associated with them.”
Johnson also reserved special praise for Laidlaw, having watched his scrum-half bounce back from a difficult time of it against England.
He added: “Greig Laidlaw is a wonderful lad and a wonderful technician too.
“Not the most gifted athlete as he knows and would admit but he is so much quicker than others because his mind works in a different place.
“I’m really proud as it’s not been an easy time for him.”