Six Nations: Johnson backs Scotland players to develop

Interim head coach Scott Johnson defended his Scotland players' effort in their 20-0 Six Nations defeat by England but lamented their mistakes.

"The skills were out, definitely, and we let ourselves down, definitely," admitted Johnson, whose team prop up the Six Nations table after two losses.

"But I'd rather say this is the best we've got here at the minute. There is some talent there.

"These guys are going to develop. They are not finished articles."

Johnson dropped his experienced captain Kelly Brown for the visit of England to Murrayfield after Sunday's 28-6 defeat by Ireland.

This is a hard stage out there. They are the best in the country going through, especially in the back division

Scott Johnson Scotland interim head coach

Brown's place at open-side flanker was taken by debutant Chris Fusaro while Tommy Seymour made his Six Nations debut in place of injured Glasgow Warriors team-mate Sean Maitland on the wing.

In front of a packed crowd, England's Owen Farrell and Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw each missed penalty attempts, but it was the visitors who took the lead from Danny Care's drop goal.

Luther Burrell's try put England 10 points up before Farrell and Laidlaw again failed to score from penalties.

By half-time Scotland's attack had barely registered and things did not improve after the interval as they were kept pointless against England in Edinburgh for the first time since 1978, when they lost 15-0.

David Denton tries to break through the English line

David Denton tried his utmost to drive his Scotland forward before being replaced by Johnnie Beattie in 55 minutes

Scotland centre Alex Dunbar was yellow carded for holding on at a ruck and England's Mike Brown crossed the line after an hour of play to make the result a certainty.

"I'm really disappointed with the fact we couldn't get out of our own half," Johnson told BBC Radio Scotland.

"Out of 20 set-pieces in our own 22 we had one! You can't play rugby at one end of the field.

"In many ways the scoreboard flattered us. You can't do much without the ball at one end of the pitch, not in those conditions anyway.

"It's a naive side in many ways. We weren't getting our repeat sets and they were.

"You feel like you are chasing your tail. You try to do things that are not appropriate. You get that with a naive back division."

Official match stats

Scotland England

42%

Possession

58%

34%

Territory

66%

5 (0)

Scrums won (lost)

6 (0)

7 (5)

Line-outs won (lost)

22 (2)

16

Pens conceded

7

72 (1)

Rucks & Mauls won (lost)

80 (6)

31

Possession kicked

36

111 (27)

Tackles made (missed)

109 (11)

3

Offloads

10

3

Line breaks

9

(provided by Accenture)

Scotland lost five line-outs and missed 27 tackles. Their concession of 16 penalties might have been more ruthlessly punished had Farrell not missed three of the kicks he opted to attempt.

Asked if he felt his players had not learned from the error-strewn performance against the Irish, Johnson replied: "You don't learn in just one week, you grow.

"This is a hard stage out there. They are the best in the country going through, especially in the back division. That's the reality. We've just got to get a bit of ball. They've got a good young base here.

"They are not finished articles, they are way off it.

"It's all my fault. I'm not going to sit here and bag my players. My players gave plenty of effort out there.

"They got caught off the back of repeated possession by a quality side.

"To sit on the scoreboard at 20-0 with 20 possessions in your own 22, there's a bit of resolve there."