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.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in PIctures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year