Kellock demands improvement
February 6, 2011
Scotland skipper Al Kellock takes on France's Julien Bonnaire during their clash at the Stade de France © Getty Images
Scotland captain Alastair Kellock lamented his side's costly turnovers and faltering scrum in the wake of their opening Six Nations defeat to France in Paris.
Kellock scored his maiden Scotland try in an entertaining clash at the Stade de France but it was ultimately in vain as his side succumbed to a 34-21 loss - his first Test defeat as captain.
The Glasgow Warriors second row, who led Scotland to a 2-0 series success in Argentina last June, believes the tone of the match was set when Maxime Medard scored a third-minute try after France had seized possession in midfield.
"I was very pleased with the way we'd started. We'd gone out with the intention of attacking, straight from the kick-off we did reasonably well and then we were turned over out wide," he said. "It was probably the story of the game; when they did turn us over they were incredibly clinical. It's disappointing, but something we've got to deal with."
Scotland's bid for a first Six Nations win in Paris - they had two previous wins in 42 years, the most recent coming as part of the Five Nations Championship-winning campaign in 1999 - was made difficult from the start and the visitors were always chasing while their scrum disintegrated under pressure from the French pack.
Tighthead prop Euan Murray appeared culpable and observers were left to wonder if the British and Irish Lion's lack of action was to blame. Murray, who was substituted for Moray Low with 10 minutes remaining, moved from Northampton to Newcastle last month and had played twice for the Falcons prior to the Six Nations.
A factor in Saints' decision to allow Murray to move on was his refusal to play on Sundays for religious reasons and he will miss the matches with Ireland and England and may yet be replaced in next weekend's clash with Wales.
Kellock was unhappy with his side's performance in the scrum. "It's not acceptable," said the skipper. "If we're going to win games in this Six Nations, which we intend to do, we need to have a stable platform for our backs to attack off, so we have to sort it out."
Scotland coach Andy Robinson knows Wales, like France, have runners capable of capitalising on loose play and has warned his side to be wary. "The Welsh are very good off counter attack and they score a lot of tries off counter attack, so if we give them that amount of ball, we'll be put under pressure," he said. "I think it's going to be a cracking game."
The Scottish Rugby Union later reported Lawson, who was replaced by Mike Blair at the interval, suffered a blow to his lower back and will be monitored over the next 24 to 48 hours.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton