Cotter wants to see Scots build legacy

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 08:21
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SIX NATIONS REACTION: Scotland's departing head coach Vern Cotter praised "the character" of his players in bouncing back from their 21-61 hammering against England to provide him with a winning 29-0 send off at home to Italy on the final day.

Typically, however, the 55-year-old New Zealander declined to accept any personal plaudits for leaving his successor, Gregor Townsend, with the legacy of a team who, in his three-year tenure, have risen from 10th to fifth in the world rankings and progressed from a Six Nations whitewash in his maiden season to three wins out of five.

Having already recorded home victories against Ireland and Wales, Cotter's side notched a bonus point victory with tries from Finn Russell, Matt Scott, Tim Visser and Tommy Seymour. It completed a hat-trick of wins for only the second time in the 18 seasons of the Six Nations era - matching their 2006 tally.

After France's dramatic win against Wales and Ireland's victory over England, the Scots finished fourth in the table behind England, Ireland and France.

With 19 victories from 36 matches, Cotter has also become the first Scotland coach in the professional era to achieve a 50 percent or better win ratio.

"I am not going to talk about legacies. It's just been good to come here and work with good people - to strive to move forward and get better. That is all we have done and now these guys, we'll look forward to seeing these guys put the jersey on and get out there and play again.

"These guys are gaining experience together. We always said last week would help us and those tough days have, in a lot of ways. We'll be looking at the World Cup in 2019 with a real desire to do well.

"The three wins is great. It's a reflection of the work these guys put in, the honest review from last week and the time we spent on the field this week. I'm really happy with the character shown by this group of men," Cotter said.

Cotter, who joins Montpellier in the Top 14 when Townsend moves from Glasgow, also had the satisfaction of seeing his side finish with Scotland's highest try scoring tally in a Six Nations season - 14.

He received a huge ovation from the sell-out Murrayfield crowd when he was reluctantly ushered by injured captain Greig Laidlaw on a lap of honour at the final whistle.

"Greig pulled me along. It was really nice. I had the whole family here watching the game, so I just signed off on the three years. It was nice to finish on a win so, yeah, that's it now," he added.

It was a desperate performance by Italy, who failed to trouble the scoreboard for the first time in two years - since a 0-29 defeat against France in Rome on March 15, 2015 - consigning them to a whitewash of five defeats without even a single losing bonus point.

Agence France-Presse

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Italy 5 0 0 5 1