Rugby - Scotland's Johnson wants improvement in the tackle

Scotland coach Scott Johnson once again bemoaned his side's tackling performance after their last-minute 30-29 victory over Italy in the final game of their South Africa tour on Saturday.

Reuters
Rugby - Scotland's Johnson wants improvement in the tackle
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Scott Johnson was furious with the officials after Scotland's defeat

Johnson admitted he was disappointed in the showing in a few areas, including set-pieces, but says if Scotland are to progress to a higher level of performance it is their defensive work that needs most attention.

"I have been going on about it for six months, go look at any of my quotes from January and they will be the same as today," Johnson said in a press conference after the match.

"If we are to improve then we need to give the tackle area more attention. We play really good rugby when we get it right, the quality of some of our work on attack is outstanding.

"But our tackling... it's a physical thing, we need to learn to back-up, we need to be in the best condition we can possibly be."

Johnson may have been disappointed with the overall performance of his side, having previously lost to both South Africa and Samoa in the four-nation tournament, but adds there were extenuating circumstances on what has been an injury-ravaged tour for a team already missing their British and Irish Lions players.

"When you are using the warm-up to the match to test if guys are able to play, it is not ideal. Behind closed doors, the people who have really earned their money on this tour have been the medical staff. It's been a tough old tour due to injuries.

"It has been a real test of our depth, we have a better understanding of our capabilities though. We want to make sure we are on the road to being a competitive squad and we are not walking away from the fact that we need to improve in areas of our game."

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