Vern Cotter dreams of Scotland win over All Blacks

Vern Cotter (left) gives out instructions at training. Picture: SNS
Vern Cotter (left) gives out instructions at training. Picture: SNS
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SCOTLAND head coach Vern Cotter does care about a century and more of failure against the All Blacks, but the New Zealander is willing to dream of a famous win against his countrymen.

The Dark Blues are currently on one of the longest losing streaks in world sport, having never beaten New Zealand in 29 attempts dating back 109 years.

The last time they were spared defeat to the Kiwis was 1983 - 18 Tests ago - when they managed a 25-25 draw in Edinburgh. A 0-0 stalemate in 1964 is the only other result of note for the Scots.

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It is 23 years since they even managed to get within 10 points of the world champions. That match, the 1991 World Cup third-place play-off, took place before five members of Cotter’s starting XV for this weekend’s clash - Jonny Gray, Adam Ashe, Finn Russell, Mark Bennett and Stuart Hogg - were even born.

But Cotter would rather not focus too much time on the history lesson. He knows his new-look side will be up against it this weekend when they welcome the All Blacks to BT Murrayfield, even if the visitors have made a raft of changes for their trip north after last week’s narrow win over England at Twickenham.

However, the former Clermont Auvergne boss insists New Zealand’s run will not go on forever and is now dreaming Saturday will be finally be Scotland’s day.

Speaking ahead of the second autumn Test, Cotter said: “The record against New Zealand has been spoken about around the place. The only thing we have control of, however, is the instant.

“The past has no bearing over what we are doing. We are not bothered about what has happened before.

“We don’t need to worry about the future either. All we need to do is focus fully on this match and concentrate on each instant as it passes.

“It’s the here and now that counts.

“If we give 100 per cent against the All Blacks during those instances then you never know.”

As well as ignoring the past, Cotter is also trying to put the personal significance of his side’s meeting with his compatriots to one side.

Instead of getting dewy-eyed about coming up against his countrymen, Cotter says the prospect of landing a glove on the best side in the world is what is really raising his blood pressure.

Asked if the weekend clash would be extra special for him, the head coach - preparing for just his sixth game in charge of Scotland - said: “I knew the question was coming and I can’t say it isn’t.

“But it is a game that everybody says you have no chance of winning. Reasonable people are saying this. The logic says we will lose this game.

“But our players have got big hearts and they really want to give this match their best shot.

“So that’s what I’m looking forward to most - the challenge and seeing our players get up and have a go against the best in the world.”

If Scotland are to have any hope against the Kiwis, they will need to put on a performance that is as good from the first minute as it is until the last.

That was a feat that proved too much for the Dark Blues last weekend against Argentina.

For an hour they proved unstoppable as they mauled the Pumas with five tries - only to slacken off and lose discipline in the final 20 minutes.

The 41-31 final score did not do their early efforts justice and Cotter knows it.

“New Zealand will have looked at the last 20 minutes of our game with Argentina,” he said.

“They have named a very strong bench that will come into the game and I imagine they will be looking to increase speed during the game and gain momentum, as they did in that last 20 minutes against the English.

“But that’s the great challenge for us. Our 23 have to compete and try to stay in the contest for as long as possible.”

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