Cot­ter leaves Scot­land on high note

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Scot­land’s de­part­ing head coach Vern Cot­ter praised “the char­ac­ter” of his play­ers in bounc­ing back from their 61-21 ham­mer­ing against Eng­land to pro­vide him with a win­ning 29-0 send off at home to Italy on the fi­nal day of the Six Na­tions Cham­pi­onship.

Typ­i­cally, how­ever, the 55-yearold New Zealan­der de­clined to ac­cept any per­sonal plau­dits for leav­ing his suc­ces­sor, Gre­gor Townsend, with the legacy of a team who, in his three-year ten­ure, have risen from 10th to fifth in the world rank­ings and pro­gressed from a Six Na­tions white­wash in his maiden sea­son to three wins out of five.

Hav­ing al­ready recorded home vic­to­ries against Ire­land and Wales, Cot­ter’s side notched a bonus point vic­tory with tries from Finn Rus­sell, Matt Scott, Tim Visser and Tommy Sey­mour.

It com­pleted a hat-trick of wins for only the sec­ond time in the 18 seasons of the Six Na­tions era — match­ing their tally from 2006.

After France’s dra­matic win against Wales and Ire­land’s vic­tory over Eng­land, the Scots fin­ished fourth in the ta­ble be­hind Eng­land, Ire­land and France.

With 19 vic­to­ries from 36 matches, Cot­ter has also be­come the first Scot­land coach in the pro­fes­sional era to achieve a 50 per cent or bet­ter win ra­tio but in­sisted: “I am not go­ing to talk about lega­cies.

“It’s just been good to come here and work with good peo­ple — to strive to move for­ward and get bet­ter. That is all we have done and now th­ese guys, we’ll look for­ward to see­ing th­ese guys put the jersey on and get out there and play again.

“We al­ways said last week would help us and those though days have, in a lot of ways.

“We’ll be look­ing at the World Cup in 2019 with a real de­sire to do well.

“The three wins is great. It’s a re­flec­tion of the work th­ese guys put in, the hon­est re­view from last week and the time we spent on the field this week. I’m re­ally happy with the char­ac­ter shown by this group of men. “

Cot­ter, who joins Mont­pel­lier in the Top 14 when Townsend moves from Glas­gow, also had the sat­is­fac­tion of see­ing his side fin­ish with Scot­land’s high­est try scor­ing tally in a Six Na­tions sea­son — 14. AFP

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