‘Calm as­sertive’ word in the ear from Cotter was se­cret to up­turn in for­tunes

The Herald - Sport - - SCOTLAND 39 USA 16 - STU­ART BATH­GATE

FOR all the com­plex­ity of a Test match, some­times you can sum it all up in a few words. Scot­land stut­tered in the first half against the United States, and were flu­ent in the sec­ond. That ex­plained the dif­fer­ence be­tween a half-time deficit of 13-6 and a full-time score of 39-16.

“Even though the first half was messy we pulled it around in the sec­ond half,” was how Tim Visser put it af­ter scor­ing the first of five tries af­ter the break which meant Scot­land got a bonus point for the sec­ond game in suc­ces­sion. “At the end of the day it’s points that count and we’re go­ing away with two bonus points.

“The two [early] tries in the sec­ond half turned the game round for us. They put us back where we were. In the end we knew that Amer­ica would get tired just like Ja­pan had done, and it showed in the sec­ond half. There were mis­takes all over the place in the first half. We were break­ing them and mak­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, but we were not clin­i­cal enough to fin­ish any of them off. It kind of showed how ner­vous we were, the silly mis­takes we were mak­ing, but in the sec­ond half we knew we had to fin­ish stuff off and we did.”

Per­haps the play­ers would have sorted mat­ters out for them­selves dur­ing the break, but the odd word of en­cour­age­ment from the coach did not go amiss. Vern Cotter in­sisted he had been calm, not fu­ri­ous, when ad­dress­ing the troops, but Visser sug­gested that the coach’s words were to the point. “Calm as­sertive,” he said of Cotter’s mood. “He was ob­vi­ously slightly an­noyed by what we’d done, but he said: Don’t put your heads down, we’re mak­ing the breaks, we’ve just got to fin­ish them off. And don’t be hard on your­self. We’ve just got to com­pose our­selves a lit­tle bit and cap­i­talise on all the breaks we were mak­ing.”

Although he did not make ex­cuses for the sub-stan­dard per­for­mance be­fore the in­ter­val, Visser pointed out that the Amer­i­cans had had dou­ble the length of break be­tween their first and sec­ond games – and that in any case, there was no way Scot­land had ex­pected to have an easy game against them. “It was ob­vi­ously a tricky game on pa­per. It was a game we had to win af­ter a four-day turn­around. We’ve just played Ja­pan, which was sud­denly a re­ally tough game – which on pa­per it shouldn’t have been – and then Amer­ica came out of the blocks.

“In the first half they were putting phases to­gether, we were hav­ing to de­fend for long times, and when we had pos­ses­sion we kept turn­ing it over, which kept the pres­sure on us. That’s some­thing we didn’t want to do.”

Stu­art Hogg had a more forth­right as­sess­ment of Cotter’s half-time ad­dress. “We got a good kick up the back­side at half-time and you saw how well we played in the sec­ond half,” the full-back said.

VISSER: ‘The two [early] tries in the sec­ond half turned the game round for us’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.