Scots performance pleases Johnson

Date published: February 9 2013

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson highlighted Stuart Hogg's interception score as a turning point in the 34-10 win over Italy.

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson highlighted Stuart Hogg's interception score as a turning point in the 34-10 win over Italy.

After a heavy defeat against England on the opening weekend Johnson was critical of his side's lack of intensity in the contact area, but was a much happier coach after Scotland stepped up at the breakdown to prevent Italy from creating a platform.

“We are really happy with the scoreboard and who wouldn't be? But we are in a championship and we want to win the championship,” said Johnson.

“The contact and collision area is such a big part of the game and we are deluding ourselves if we think otherwise. There were periods today when we showed there is no excuse why we can't do it. We have got the physical specimens to do it and if we get it right, rugby is far more enjoyable.”

“Whilst there were some really good things in that game and much improvement in areas we needed to improve in, there is still plenty left out on that pitch.”

“We did really well in the defence for most of the game and there was a real turning point when Hoggy took it from one end of the field to the other, which was really a 14-point turnaround.

“But the events that occurred just beforehand were disappointing. The scoreboard could have changed really quickly.

“We have to acknowledge that but I keep saying if we get our part right, we can put sides away from some distance because we have a potent back line.

“We just have to keep doing our work. We have to keep improving. We're in a tournament and today's result puts us right in it. We're in this.

Scotland captain Kelly Brown echoed Johnson's sentiments and expressed his pride at the victory of the Italians, highlighting it as the start of better things to come.

“We said last week after England that they won all the one-on-ones but it felt out there that we fought hard and worked hard as a side,” said Brown.

“My overriding emotion is pride. We knew after last week we needed to bounce back and I felt we did that.

“But it's only the start. It's only one game and it's up to us to make sure we learn from this match and on our next outing are even stronger.”

Italy coach Jacques Brunel put his side's dramatic drip in form after last weekend's victory over France down to growing pains, with his side now preparing for their clash with Wales.

“I think that's the price we pay to keep on growing. Today we certainly paid a high price,” said Brunel.

“The Scots defended really well and there were many issues with our speed and defence throughout the game as well.

“We played in such an individual way, now we have two weeks to try to understand and come back for the Wales game.”