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Scotland star says Tonga jolt ensures Japan will not be taken lightly

Matt Scott: wants to ensure there is no repeat of last years disappointing result at Pittodrie.
Matt Scott: wants to ensure there is no repeat of last years disappointing result at Pittodrie.

Scotland centre Matt Scott suffered the ignominy of defeat to rugby minnows Tonga 12 months ago now he is determined to ensure there is no repeat against Japan.

The Dark Blues open their Autumn Test series with Saturday’s Murrayfield clash against the Brave Blossoms before also hosting South Africa and Australia.

They head into the opener in much better shape than they did for the meeting with Tonga last November.

Having lost to both New Zealand and the Springboks, former boss Andy Robinson was forced to resign after the match in Aberdeen with the South Sea Islanders when the Scots went down to a shock 21-15 defeat.

But, since then, the side have been buoyed by a third-place finish in the RBS 6 Nations and a couple of decent displays during their summer tour to South Africa.

However, Edinburgh back Scott is well aware that relaxing against the Japanese could leave head coach Scott Johnson’s men open to another nasty upset.

“We saw last year at Pittodrie what can happen if you don’t take these games seriously enough,” he said. “We don’t want that happening to us again.

“We recovered pretty quickly from that Tonga defeat and did well in the Six Nations. But the feeling of that day is still ingrained in everybody’s memory.

“I had only won six caps before that game and I was pretty new to things then. It wasn’t a pleasant experience at all and it’s not something I want to be repeating.

“Johnno has told us to play each Test like it’s our last. Japan are a quality side and we can’t take them lightly. OK, they are an emerging nation but have beaten the likes of Fiji and the Unites States, good teams.

“They will be targeting us for a win and will be a very dangerous side. We will put our strongest side out, but we will still need to give it our all.”

The Scots put on a brave display before going down 30-17 in Nelspruit during the summer, while their last meeting with the Wallabies in June last year ended with a famous 9-6 victory in Newcastle.

But Scott says the focus being put on the result against Japan comes a close second to the attention the Dark Blues are paying to the quality of their performance.

He said: “The performance is the thing we should be focusing on mainly, because if we play well I think we will win.

“There’s no doubt about that and I’m confident we are good enough to take care of Japan. But it’s no good losing the first game when we have to massive sides in South Africa and Australia to come next, so the result does matter too.”

The November Tests come just as Scott, 23, and his club colleagues have finally found some form with Edinburgh.

A slow start to the RaboDirect Pro12 campaign saw them lose five of their opening six fixtures, but the Heineken Cup win over Munster has been followed by two wins from the next three games.

“We’ve not turned the corner yet but we’ve started to steer it in the right direction,” said Scott.

“It was tough last year coming to meet up with Scotland when we were struggling with our club side.

“But now, all of the Edinburgh boys are feeling quite good about ourselves and we are playing reasonably well. Hopefully we can continue that with Scotland.”

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