Six Nations 2014: Scotland should have beaten France, says Scott Johnson

Six Nations 2014: Scott Johnson is left to rue Scotland’s high penalty count after dramatic defeat by France

Scott Johnson was left to rue Scotland’s high penalty count as they suffered a 19-17 defeat by France at Murrayfield.

Scotland fans were left incensed at the end of the match when Pollock penalised replacement lock Tim Swinson for not rolling away – the resulting penalty in front of the posts an easy kick for Doussain, who had been on the pitch a matter of minutes, but Johnson admitted it was the right call.

“The last penalty was probably deserved – It was just one of those things,” Johnson said. “I was disappointed with the one before that, that let France get back down to our 22 on 76 minutes. We had the ball and we should have controlled that.

There were really good aspects of this performance and I’m bitterly disappointed

Scott Johnson

Scotland had led 14-7 at the break and were 17-16 up mid-way through the second half before the dramatic end and the Scotland head coach was pleased with the performance of his players despite the result.

“It’s a game we should have won,” Johnson added. “Once again we showed great character, resolve, skill and intent; if you have those things, you have a pretty good team.

“There were really good aspects of this performance and I’m bitterly disappointed for them.

“We’re moulding a set of backs and, if this group stays together, they will be a real attacking threat. Lessons will be learned and they will be better for it.”

France kicked three penalties in the first half with the decisive kick coming in the last minute and Johnson raised questions over interpretations of the laws of the game as New Zealand referee Craig Pollock penalised Scotland 13 times and France five times.

“We’re trying to get uniformity across our legislations, but the differences between each individual referee—I know they’re working hard, I know they’ve got a job to do—they’re just too different,” Johnson continued.

“We’re coaching depending on who’s refereeing. I’ve got a huge list on each referee. We accept that we’re the largest part of that, but it’s just frustrating when we don’t seem to be getting any crumbs coming our way.

“The fact is, in a competition as close as this, we’re leading the game, and we’re down 10 to two on penalty count. I smell something there. That doesn’t sit well.

“Last week, we went into half time 9-2 down on the penalty count, this week 10-2 down.

“We’ve got look at ourselves first and foremost. I’m not into ragging out referees, but when the competition’s as close as it is, I find that swing in penalties, especially the 50-50 calls can be tough to justify.

“There might be a couple of conversations going on outside the rugby pitch.”

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