Scott Johnson given six months to earn permanent Scotland job

Australian attack coach promoted to head role for Six Nations and tour of South Africa

Not for the first time, Scott Johnson has been entrusted with the caretaking duties as a national head coach. The Scottish Rugby Union confirmed yesterday that the 50-year-old Australian had been promoted from attack coach to interim head coach of Scotland for next year's Six Nations Championship and the end-of-season tour to South Africa.

That amounts to a six-month audition for the role of permanent successor to Andy Robinson, who fell on his sword in the wake of Scotland's stunning 21-15 defeat against Tonga in Aberdeen last month. Johnson can only hope he fares better than he did after holding the reins as Wales' head coach following the resignation of Mike Ruddock in 2006. The native Sydneysider failed to register a win, presiding over two defeats and a draw, before making way for Gareth Jenkins.

Having joined the Scotland staff as Robinson's lieutenant last May, Johnson was always the front runner to step into the shoes of the former England head coach, who suffered Six Nations and autumn whitewashes this year, either side of three summer successes – a run of form that has taken the Scots down to 12th in the world rankings. Sean Lineen was another possible contender but confirmation last week of the former Scotland centre's role as coach to the national Under-20 side for 2013 was a strong indication that Johnson would be in charge for the Six Nations at least.

Mark Dodson, the chief executive officer of Scottish Rugby, said: "Scott has a wealth of experience of international rugby, which was instrumental in his appointment earlier this year as our senior assistant coach. He has coached with Australia, Wales and the USA and knows what it is to prepare teams to win on the international battleground."

Johnson, a former Australia Under-21 fly-half and centre, suffered defeats against Ireland and France and scraped a draw against Italy in his three matches in absolute charge of Wales. As skills coach, however, he played a pivotal part in the Welsh Grand Slam success of 2005. He was on the Welsh coaching staff from 2002 to 2006 and was director of rugby with the Ospreys from 2009 to 2011.

"It's an honour to take charge of the national team for our imminent campaign," Johnson said yesterday. "I will be doing everything I can to bring the best out of our players as we all seek to achieve winning performances."

Johnson's first match in charge of Scotland will be the Six Nations opener away to England on 2 February. Scotland have not won at Twickenham since 1983. Under Robinson, they enjoyed notable victories against the Wallabies (twice) and South Africa but, with their severely limited playing resources, they only won two of 15 games in the past three Six Nations campaigns. Last year in New Zealand they also failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time.

Ireland, whom Scotland will face in the third week of the Six Nations, were dealt a blow yesterday with the news that wing Tommy Bowe is set to miss entire championship after undergoing knee surgery. Bowe was carried off during Ulster's Heineken Cup home defeat against Northampton last Saturday and in a statement yesterday, his club said that he is "expected to be out for approximately four months."

The 28-year-old, who has scored 26 tries in 51 Tests, should regain full fitness ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia. He was a key member of the 2009 Lions squad and would be among the leading candidates to make Warren Gatland's squad this time.

Suggested Topics
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits