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Scott Johnson ‘delighted’ by Scotland second half

Scott Johnson: no inspired half-time team talk, just a call to avoid conceding penalties. Picture: SNS/SRU

Scott Johnson: no inspired half-time team talk, just a call to avoid conceding penalties. Picture: SNS/SRU

SCOTLAND were utterly useless in the first half and all but unstoppable after the break so what exactly had coach Scott Johnson said at half time to inspire the team to victory?

“We always talk about half time speeches,” said the Australian, “but if it was that good I should have done it before the game. It wasn’t that. The reality was that we had ten penalties against us [in the first half] and we only had two for us so therefore we couldn’t hold pressure. We always felt that if we could get that part right and we could hold pressure we would score points. That was all that was spoken about.”

Johnson conceded that several of those penalties that hurt the Scots in the first 40 came from the set scrum and he swapped Moray Low for Geoff Cross just before the break, which was tactical rather than injury enforced. It will be interesting to see who starts against France.

One man who should have booked his place in the team is Duncan Weir, who kicked the sweetest drop goal of his life yesterday inside the final minute, and he couldn’t keep the smile off his face afterwards.

“As soon as I struck it I looked and saw it sailing between the posts and went off my head a wee bit,” said the beaming stand-off. “I ran back with Hoggy [Stuart Hogg] chasing after me and two seconds later I was on top of big Jim [Hamilton’s] shoulders celebrating. It’s a big blur. I’m delighted the boys dug in the second half, we attacked with great shape and I’m delighted we managed to seal the win. I was more thinking about the routine and just getting the small coaching points, such as dropping the ball right, keeping the head down, getting my body through it. If you get caught up in the situation one of them will fall away and that’s when you’ll miss.”

Which is what his coach expected, as the Aussie insisted afterwards when asked if he had any doubts that Weir would do it.

“I had plenty of doubts he’d do it,” said the coach. “I’ve watched him for the last three weeks and he hasn’t even looked like kicking one at training, so my exact words spoken about two minutes before whilst he was setting up were: ‘He hasn’t got a hope in hell’.”

 

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