Murray and Hoy used to spur on Scotland rugby team

Scotland's Blair Cowan (left) in action. Picture: SNS

Scotland's Blair Cowan (left) in action. Picture: SNS

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SIR Chris Hoy and Andy Murray achieved sporting success far removed from the rugby field, but both have played their part in the revival of the national team, man of the match Blair Cowan revealed after Scotland’s five-try victory over Tonga on Saturday.

The flanker scored his side’s first try in the 37-12 win, which followed victory over Argentina and a narrow loss to New Zealand in the three-match viagogo Autumn Test series. It is the first time in five years that Scotland have won two out of the three end-of-year games, and follows a summer tour in which three out of four matches were won.

Cowan explained that head coach Vern Cotter, who took up his post for that tour, had tried to inspire the team not only by reminding them of some of the great Scotland sides of the past, but also by showing them footage of Scots winning in other sports, such as Olympic cycling champion Hoy and Wimbledon winner Murray.

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“Vern has done a lot of research into the past, into what has been the success to a lot of famous victories in all areas of Scotland,” Cowan said after the match in Kilmarnock, the first major rugby international to be played on a synthetic surface. “He’s shown us things, and I’m not just talking about rugby.

“We’ve looked at past great victories in the Six Nations and the two Five Nations Grand Slams. We’ve picked out pieces of what was important to those victories. Chris Hoy was someone who popped up. Andy Murray popped up. It’s about realising what the nation has and the potential it has. It might be individual things and that is the greatness we want to achieve.”

Of Scotland’s performance against Tonga, Cotter said: “What was important was to be under pressure and to grind out a win and to be able to change slightly our tactics. At 14-12 it was
anybody’s game, but I think there was belief within the group at half-time to kick on and get the result.”

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