Scotland head coach Scott Johnson today praised the form of three of Glasgow Warriors’ younger players as he looked ahead to November’s international action at Murrayfield.
His comments come as Warriors sit with a 100% record at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12, having kept their try line intact in the three games to date against Cardiff, Ulster and Leinster.
In an exclusive interview with www.scottishrugby.org Johnson reflected on growing competition for berths as planning intensifies for the Autumn Tests against Japan, South Africa and Australia.
He said: “It’s definitely more competitive for spots – the summer tour was great for that. A couple of younger players have stood up at regional level (since then) as well which is adding good pressure to positions that we are not notoriously strong in.
“I think (Glasgow Warriors centre) Mark Bennett’s form has been superb. It’s really nice to see (Alex) Dunbar playing good club footy again and that’s fantastic and with Jonny Gray coming through that’s a bit of pressure on everyone as well.”
Scotland face Japan (9 November), South Africa (17 November) and Australia (23 November) and tickets are on sale now from www.scottishrugby.org or on the ticket hotline 0844 335 3933.
Johnson believes Scotland will face a fierce challenge in those games.
He added: “Japan is an interesting one. The world order is changing a little bit and Japan is taking rugby seriously now because they have been awarded the 2019 World Cup. It’s in the forefront of their minds and their form has been amazing.
“They’ve beaten Wales, albeit a younger Welsh team, but they still had to do it. They are playing against sides that are ranked higher than them. People who think that Japan are what they used to be are kidding themselves. They’re a quality side who we’re playing first up.
“South Africa’s form has been superb since our scare that we gave them over in Nelspruit during the summer. It will be interesting to see how they go over the next couple of weeks as they’ve been probably largely the form team of the Rugby Championship. The way they are playing, the combination of brute force and a bit more flair, says they are dangerous.
“Australia have got some potency and if they actually get it right they can put any side to bed. If they get their part right they are the most dangerous side in the world for points.”