Vern Cotter: People would take mickey out of Scottish rugby

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter will step down after the Six Nations. Picture: SNS
Scotland head coach Vern Cotter will step down after the Six Nations. Picture: SNS
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National coach Vern Cotter says one of the reasons he took the job was to stop people taking the mickey out of Scottish rugby.

Cotter, who will step down from the post after the Six Nations, wanted to restore the Scots game’s reputation.

He left his job in France with leading club side Clermont Auvergne to come to Scotland in 2014.

It was seen as a major coup by the SRU and New Zealander Cotter has duly delivered, restoring the national side’s reputation by guiding them to the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals and achieving an impressive win ratio of 52 per cent, far higher than his predecessors.

“It’s something that I didn’t have to do, it’s something that we wanted to do as a family,” Cotter said of his decision to leave France for Scotland in an interview with the BBC.

“One of the key motivating factors was that people [in France] would take the mickey out of Scotland and its rugby. It sort of upset me. I was defending the underdog.

“Before the Six Nations, everybody would take a sweepstake and Scotland was always last pick.”

Cotter says memories of the touring Scotland side which visited New Zealand after winning the Grand Slam in 1990 were an inspiration for him.

Scotland lost the second Test narrowly 21-18 in Auckland.

“Look, I remember the 1990s,” Cotter added. “I remember Scotland coming to New Zealand and they should have beaten the All Blacks. We weren’t inventing the game, Scotland were doing it. When we first came together as a squad we looked at some footage of those days. They were brave, confident warriors.

“Trying to bring that back to Scotland was one of the key things. They [Jim Telfer and Ian McGeechan, the coaches of the era] were ahead of their time. Any comparison to those two great men is very nice. I would take inspiration from what they did. The game has moved on but some of the essential things they were coaching are still relevant, especially to the Scottish psyche.

“Scotland has a proud history. It’s a humble country and it’s a place you can become attached to very quickly.”