Six Nations: Scott Johnson laments Scotland's play in contact area

England celebrate Geoff Parling's second-half try

Scott Johnson offered a straightforward take on where his Scotland team had gone wrong in at Twickenham.

"We didn't win the contact area so we were never going to win the contest. England won every contact," the interim head coach told BBC Scotland.

"We could sit there and say a thousand things about when we had the ball.

"The reality is, when we didn't have the ball, we didn't do well enough and we made it too easy for them."

Few expected Scotland, holders of the wooden spoon from a disappointing Six Nations last year, to beat the English on their own patch for the first time in 30 years.

But many would have looked for the dark blue jerseys to push the English harder and to have emerged from London with better than a 20-point defeat.

Instead, the Scots were sunk by tries by Billy Twelvetrees, Chris Ashton, Geoff Parling and Danny Care, with man-of-the-match Owen Farrell kicking 18 points.

Johnson's post-match comments made it clear what his squad will be practising ahead of the Italy match at Murrayfield in a week's time.

"I can't dress it up. I'd love to tell you a great story; the reality is contact, contact, contact," he added after the Calcutta Cup defeat.

Scotland head coach Scott Johnson at Twickenham
Johnson praised the performances of Stuart Hogg, Greig Laidlaw and Johnnie Beattie

"They played well but we gave them easy yards. These games are about how good you defend and how good you defend around the ruck and we were poor today.

"If we don't get this part of our game right, we are not going to improve.

"Great rugby is played on the back of a dominant contact area. I'm not changing that philosophy.

"If we get good at that we will become a good rugby team - fact. Anything else is just waffle.

"If you don't get good line speed it'll affect your collision.

"We were under pressure all the time. It's really hard when you are defending for so long."

England were impressive in front of a crowd of 81,347 yet they were trailing 5-3 early in the match after Sean Maitland crossed the line for a try on his debut.

That was one bright spot for Johnson; the display of Glasgow Warriors full-back Stuart Hogg, who scored a late try for the visitors, was another.

Sean Maitland

"I was really glad for the lad," said the 50-year-old Australian.

"His regional form hasn't been the best but today he was first class.

"He showed confidence and everything he did he made a positive movement forward. I thought he was superb.

"I thought Greig [Laidlaw] for a first go-out at nine in international rugby did wonderfully well behind not a dominant forward pack.

"And it was nice to see Johnnie Beattie back.

"We are brave and resilient, and I like those qualities, but we just need to get better at what we do.

"When we do it well we look good; the fact is we don't do it often enough."

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