Scott Johnson predicts a bright future for Scottish rugby

Scotland at their final training session


Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Saturday, 23 November
18:00 GMT
Watch live on BBC Two, BBC Two HD, mobiles and online from 17:30 GMT; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles

Scottish rugby is entering an exciting new phase in its history, says national coach Scott Johnson.

"Mark it down, this period will be special," said the Australian, whose .

"There are kids in this group of players that will give Scotland its greatest chance of long-term success.

"You've got to put your marker down somewhere. I said it once with Wales and it was the same thing."

The interim head coach has promised to use the autumn series of internationals to experiment with new systems and players.

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Interview - Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson

"You can keep doing the same thing and get the same results. We need greater depth, we need greater strength in our squad," he said.

"Kids need a chance. Put the marker down. I'm happy to sign it and we'll talk about it in a few years.

"I may not be here to see it all but, watching somewhere else, I will take great pride in the fact that I was part of the initial find of a young group of players."

Johnson was talking on the 10th anniversary of the 2003 World Cup final in which he believes the Wales side he helped coach should have taken part.

Not only did England knock out Wales in the 2003 quarter-finals, but they went on to defeat Australia in the Sydney final.

"I was commentating on the game after being knocked out by the champions in a game we should have won," recalled the 51-year-old.

Johnson will move back to a director of rugby role once Vern Cotter is free of his contract with Clermont next summer and has been liaising with the New Zealander as they try to unearth new talent for Scotland.

Scotland celebrate their 2012 win in Newcastle
Lamont fondly recalls Scotland's 9-6 win over Australia in Newcastle

Asked if the emerging generation of players could one day win a World Cup, Johnson replied: "They'll definitely compete.

"Winning has a myriad of things that need to actually enact. Some of it is a bit of luck, some is referee decisions. Competing, that's up to you. We'll compete."

Scotland defeated Japan in their opening Murrayfield autumn Test before being

Winger Sean Lamont admitted that the Scotland team "didn't turn up" while the Springboks had made them pay for the 10% of tackles they missed.

"That's done and dusted and, with Australia this week, we're looking to make amends and it's a massive task," he said.

"They are a good side who like to play the ball a bit more than South Africa do. We've got to be 100% accurate and more physical than we were last week."

Scotland are going for a hat-trick of wins over Australia and Lamont remembers their last meeting, a 9-6 success in Newcastle in June 2012.

"The coldest, wettest evening ever," he said. "It was cold for us, but I think a couple of their boys went in for hypothermia at the end.

"Sometimes the weather can be a great leveller, but we had shown massive endeavour and we really put it to them physically and we've got to do the same again."

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