Johnson: We let ourselves down
March 16, 2013
Scotland's Sean Lamont and France's Louis Picamoles vie for the high ball © Getty Images
Scotland coach Scott Johnson insists there is more to come from his side despite seeing them slump to a 23-16 defeat to France in their final Six Nations clash in Paris on Saturday night.
The caretaker boss was quick to highlight the progress his side has made in the wake of their third championship defeat with tries from Wesley Fofana and Maxime Medard proving just enough to propel the hosts to victory.
Despite their disappointment, they finished the tournament in third place thanks in part to Itayl's victory over Ireland in Rome. "We defended really well tonight - I thought we were great in our resolve. But we let ourselves down in other areas," said Johnson. "However, I asked the guys at the start of the tournament not to send me out to defend the indefensible. But that never happened. They never put me in that position.
"From a progress point of view, I look at some things and say 'Gee that is fantastic' and then the next day I am disappointed. I was really, really proud of our defence tonight. That was superb. But we let ourselves down in some of our kick-return stuff. We dropped a lot of balls and put ourselves under pressure.
"So there has been progress but like all things, it doesn't improve as quick as you'd like. But we have got to get rid of this tag that near enough is good enough. We've got to take our opportunities to put teams to bed."
Johnson looks set to earn a permanent appointment but the Australian would not be drawn on the subject. "I've said from day one I will sit down with the appropriate people after the tournament and we will work it out," he said when asked about his future. "We will have a proper discussion, man to man."
Captain Kelly Brown also refused to make excuses after errors plagued his side's performance. He said: "There is no doubt that the ball was very slippery. But we are from Scotland, we are more than used to playing with a slippery ball. It was a factor but I know all the guys have the skills that mean nine times out of 10, they would catch those balls."
France boss Philippe Saint-Andre had been under pressure after his side lost their first three games of the championship, with their best result before Scotland's visit a 13-13 draw with Ireland. His side conceded a late try to Tim Visser but their earlier scores and nine points from the influential fly-half Frederic Michalak before he was carried off with a shoulder injury secured their long-awaited victory. However, they still finished bottom of the table due to Ireland's superior points difference.
Saint-Andre said: "It was a difficult match but it had been a reflection of where we had been in the tournament this year. We made many opportunities in the first half but we were not patient enough. In the second half we scored two great tries but we are still last in the tournament and we have to accept that."
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