• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Johnson is players' choice to lead Scotland into Six Nations

AS the Scottish Rugby Union officially denied reports that they have decided to appoint Scott Johnson as interim head coach of the Scotland team, it has become clear that the players would have no issues if he were to get the job.

They may still be feeling guilty about the performances that drove Andy Robinson out of the job last month but feel his assistant for the last six months could be the continuity candidate to take over.

The sense that Robinson took the rap for their failings is still running strong among those who know they let him down. "What happened against Tonga, there was never really anything a coach could do," said Sean Lamont, the Scotland wing. "It was not the gameplan, it was the players on the field.

"There was definitely a lot of guilt. I know that Kelly Brown [the captain] took it hard and I was gutted to see him [Robinson] go. I think a lot of the remaining management were as well. He was a nice guy and a good coach, it was just unfortunate that things did not go anywhere near to plan, especially in the Tonga game. There is definitely player responsibility."

For Tim Visser, the other wing, Robinson had been made the fall guy after a bad team performance. "We feel a bit guilty, we have to," he said. "We are the ones responsible for the result, not Andy. He is just a scapegoat and we were all sad to see him go.

"I have a lot to thank Andy for, bringing me initially to Edinburgh and then giving me a chance to play for Scotland. It was incredible and I owe him a lot. He is pretty much just a scapegoat for the results that we produced as players."

The question is whether those feelings can be the springboard to a revival in the RBS Six Nations Championship after three years when the side has won only two out of 15 matches, including a whitewash earlier this year.

Who will be in charge when they launch their campaign in Twickenham remains as much of a mystery now as it was the day Robinson left. The SRU hope to make a full-time appointment but realise that the timescale and the possibility that a preferred candidate may be in a job already could force them to appoint an interim head coach.

Johnson would be Visser's choice for that role. "Scott is a great coach," he said. "He is very technical and brings something new to everyone's game. He has a great outlook and great knowledge of the game and he brings that to every scenario he is in. He has been in the position of head coach before and every time I have worked under him I have learned new things.

"Do we need continuity? We have only a certain number of players and a large number of those who played in the autumn internationals are expected to play in the Six Nations, so there is always going to be some sort of continuity. Scott has been a brilliant ever since he came in so he would not be a bad appointment, but it is not for me to comment on who I think should be our head coach."

For Lamont, the only way Scotland can possibly go is up, regardless of who is in charge. "It was rock bottom against Tonga, it can only get better from there," he said. "We have those moments when we show we can match anybody, but we have got to cut out that classic Scottish rollercoaster of some games being good and others terrible. I would love a little bit of consistency.

"It is a tough time for any coach to come in. The Six Nations is a big tournament and a lot depends on whether the coach is just going to tweak a few things or wants a complete overhaul. You don't know which it will be until the coach arrives.

"If he does want a total overhaul, then you give him that, you don't have much choice. It is the powers that be that control that side of things, you do what you're told."

Contextual targeting label: 
retail

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

130445