SCOTLAND head coach Scott Johnson has praised Richie Gray’s return to form at Castres ahead of the 2014 RBS Six Nations Championship, but in the latest Scotsman Rugby Show, in association with Ginger Grouse, he insists that he will still have to fight harder for the Scotland starting jersey.
The only Scot to play in a British and Irish Lions Test match last summer, Gray starts the Six Nations on the bench in Ireland this weekend with Tim Swinson preferred as the front jumper in the lineout and Jim Hamilton again tasked with calling the shots. In this exclusive interview, Johnson explains why Swinson and Hamilton are the best combination to face Ireland, and why he has handed Ryan Wilson a recall despite a court case hanging over the Glasgow flanker.
The coach also assesses the strengths in the back division, answering why he preferred Duncan Weir to Ruaridh Jackson at stand-off and went for an inexperienced centre pairing of Duncan Taylor and Alex Dunbar.
Johnson insists talk of Scotland’s poor starts to previous championships has helped his motivational talk to the team ahead of the trip to Dublin and gives Scotsman.com viewers his own personal take on each of his opposite numbers in the Six Nations coaching ranks - Joe Schmidt, Warren Gatland, Stuart Lancaster, Jacques Brunel and Philippe Saint-Andre. What he says about the last-named Frenchman may not be wholly accurate. We will let you decide.
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THE SCOTSMAN RUGBY SHOW IN ASSOCIATION WITH GINGER GROUSE