Scotland interim rugby coach Scott Johnson believes the Murrayfield crowd made the difference in ensuring a record RBS Six Nations victory, by 34-10, against Italy.
Four tries helped the Scots surge past the previous record 32-10 win over Ireland 12 years ago and Aussie Johnson said: “If they (players) get it right supporters are worth seven or eight points (and) in Test match footy that is a lot. That is a massive difference.”
The Scots now have two more games at home – Ireland on Sunday week followed by Wales on March 9 – and Johnson added: “For the rest of the tournament most of these games will go down to the wire.
“Seven or eight points can make the difference. We
want to get as many (fans)
together. We want them to be as boisterous as ever.”
What was special about
Scotland’s scoring spree is that all the tries came from backs, as they did against England a week earlier, and the team are now top try scorers in the tournament so far.
That would have been unthinkable not long ago when the Scots were suffering from a dearth of touchdowns including going for a year without a try at Murrayfield, between 2007 and 2008.
Johnson suggests the backs who carved up Italy and featuring 20-year-old Stuart Hogg alongside Matt Scott (22), Ruiaridh Jackson (23) and Sean Maitland (24) have plenty of fields to conquer. “Look at the age of our back-line. They will be around for a while,” he said.
The coach had specific praise for full-back Hogg in acknowledging the quality footwork that opened up the space for his try after making an intercept.
“He (Hogg) has a wonderful skill set,” he said. “The back three are pretty dangerous but Hoggy has got some gas. I can’t coach what he has got, but I take the credit.”
Does Johnson feel a fortnight’s break before encountering an Ireland side beaten 12-6 at home by England is a benefit or a disruption?
“It is nice to have a fortnight’s break but boys go back to clubs. So it’s not a real fortnight to prepare. What you really have is seven days and an extra session.”