Six Nations

Johnson wary of Ireland team

2013-02-21 09:08
Scott Johnson (AFP)

Edinburgh - Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson has promised his side will not be taken unawares by a much-changed Ireland team in the Six Nations at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Ireland have been forced into making five changes as a result of injuries and the suspension of prop Cian Healy following a bruising 12-6 defeat by leaders England in Dublin last time out.

The most eye-catching decision by Ireland coach Declan Kidney has been to give a debut to Ulster flyhalf Paddy Jackson rather than recall Ronan O'Gara, Ireland's most-capped player, in place of the injured Jonathan Sexton.

Also making his Test debut this weekend will be Jackson's fellow Ulsterman Luke Marshall, in at inside centre after the experienced Gordon D'Arcy was ruled out with a foot injury.

Elsewhere in the backs, left wing Simon Zebo's tournament-ending foot injury led to a recall for utility back Keith Earls.

Meanwhile, the pack showed two changes, with Tom Court replacing Healy after the loosehead prop was suspended for stamping on England's Dan Cole and experienced second row Donncha O'Callaghan coming in for Mike McCarthy, out with a knee injury.

By contrast Australian coach Johnson, who oversaw a 34-10 win over Italy in the second round that left Scotland second in the standings, has made just one change with prop Geoff Cross replacing Euan Murray because the latter's religious convictions mean he won't play on Sundays.

Johnson, promoted from within the Scotland set-up to his caretaker post after coach Andy Robinson resigned as head coach following the defeat by Tonga in November, was adamant all of Ireland's newcomers were worthy of their places.

"We know the players coming in," Johnson said Wednesday. "Their form regionally has been superb and these kids are good players.

"Sometimes what happens is that (people) expect the 'known names' to be a massive, massive loss. But what (people) probably don't know is the 'no names' and how good they are."

The Irish have won their last five Championship matches in Edinburgh but victory over Italy has given Scotland, last season's wooden spoonists, a massive confidence boost.

However, Johnson tried to put the victory in context by saying: "We have got the ability and potential in this side to hurt some teams but we have got to do it consistently. It was one win but let's not get carried away with it."

Meanwhile Johnson insisted he'd no problems with Murray following in the footsteps of the late Scotland international and Olympic champion Eric Liddell in refusing to play on a Sunday.

"I can understand what Euan is saying and it's his decision. We move on and make ours. We get on with it.

"It's not a complicated situation. It's black and white for me.

"As for Geoff, well he's got to scrum - that's what he has been picked for. He's been picked because we deem him strong and that he has shown that when he has played international rugby, he can hold up a scrum."

Read more on:    ireland  |  six nations  |  scott johnson  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Schwalger's season over

2014-04-21 11:44

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will win the 2014 Six Nations title?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.