Scots ea­ger to give Cot­ter win­ning send-off

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ED­IN­BURGH: Vern Cot­ter’s bat­tered and bruised Scot­land side will hope to give the Kiwi coach a win­ning send-off when they host point­less Italy at Mur­ray­field to­day.

The open­ing game on the fi­nal day of the Six Na­tions sea­son is Cot­ter’s last be­fore the for­mer Cler­mont coach makes way for Scot Gre­gor Townsend and re­turns to the French Top 14 with Mont­pel­lier.

In his three-year stint the 55year-old New Zealan­der guided Scot­land from 10th to fifth in the world rank­ings, came within a whisker of a World Cup semi-fi­nal and is guar­an­teed to de­part as the first Scot­land coach in the pro­fes­sional era to achieve a 50 per cent win ra­tio.

With 18 vic­to­ries from 35 matches, Cot­ter’s tally stands at 51.4 per cent.

De­spite the shud­der­ing set­back of last Satur­day’s 61-21 de­feat against Eng­land — Scot­land’s heav­i­est points con­ces­sion to their ri­vals — Cot­ter could also fin­ish his ten­ure with the Scots’ high­est Six Na­tions fin­ish.

His team would take sec­ond place, be­hind Eng­land, if they beat Italy with a try bonus point, if Wales beat France with­out a bonus point and if Ire­land lose to Eng­land.

“There’ll be a bit of sad­ness in­volved with it be­ing the last game but first and fore­most it’s about get­ting the per­for­mance,” said Cot­ter.

“Win­ning’s the most im­por­tant thing. If some­one had said be­fore­hand that we’d have two wins with a game to go we’d prob­a­bly have taken it.

“The play­ers are re­ally fo­cused on an op­por­tu­nity to fin­ish well in this Six Na­tions.” AFP

Vern Cot­ter

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