Six Nations: ‘Hard man’ Cotter lays it on the line

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SCOTLAND captain Greig Laidlaw has revealed that he and his team-mates have seen a different side of head coach Vern Cotter this week.

The New Zealander has generally been very supportive of his players since taking up the post last summer but, after three successive losses in the Six Nations Championship, his patience has worn thin. As the countdown to Saturday’s match against England at Twickenham reaches its final stages, Cotter has become more demanding of the squad, as well as changing his approach to analysing what has been going wrong.

Greig Laidlaw says Vern Cotter is a hard man. Picture: SNS

Greig Laidlaw says Vern Cotter is a hard man. Picture: SNS

“We’ve had it from the coaches and rightly so,” Laidlaw said yesterday. “We’ve now seen both sides of Vern – he’s a hard man.

“He has high standards and we’ve certainly seen what he’s all about, and that’s good. We now know what’s expected of us and he’s a very clever coach. Some of the analysis we’ve done this week, he’s done it in a very clever way. There has been a slight change in tack from him. His analysis has been about going back a bit further into previous tournaments. He’s been on our case and he’s certainly been on my case, that’s for sure.

“We’ve had a look at the last game against England at Murrayfield [the 20-0 defeat in 2014] where we were well beaten and we played poorly. He pointed out mistakes in that game and we need to learn quickly and not make these mistakes.”

Laidlaw will retain his place as scrum-half and skipper for the Calcutta Cup match, but there should be changes in the pack when the team is announced tomorrow. Jim Hamilton is expected to return to the second row, and No 8 David Denton could return after injury.

• Edinburgh captain Mike Coman has signed a one-year contract extension, tying him to the capital club until May 2016.

The former New Zealand under-19 international initially joined Edinburgh in 2013, on a two-year deal, and was awarded the captaincy this season.

He led the club to victory in this season’s 1872 Cup against Glasgow Warriors and the bonus-point win over Bordeaux-Begles that saw them through to the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup.

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