Scotland coach Vern Cotter happy to avoid banana skin

Vern Cotter. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Vern Cotter. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Scotland coach Vern Cotter was pleased to have “dodged a banana skin” in the victory over the United States.

“We’re very happy to get the win and the bonus point,” said Cotter. “It was a game that was difficult to construct because it was a physical team in front of us. We weren’t particularly accurate in the first 40 but the score early in the second half (from Visser) got us back on track and we managed to build through what was a reasonably difficult day of rugby with a win. Hats off to the guys, they worked hard, it was a four-day turnaround so you’ve got to look at how we come out of it because in six days’ time there’s another game.

“The (tier two nations) are getting better and better every year, there are a few things to juggle up and try to get right, but luckily we dodged a banana skin and now we can build towards South Africa.”

Stand-off Finn Russell suffered an ankle injury in the second half and Cotter said he and lock Grant Gilchrist, who has a suspected adductor problem, would be assessed. The lack of strength in depth at 10 will be a concern for Cotter if Russell is not fit to face the Boks.

Asked if he was happy with how the tournament had gone so far, Cotter added: “I’m never happy. We’re okay with that, we’re still looking at the content, the players pride themselves on improving. We’re rocking through these games pretty quickly, they know in six days it’s South Africa, it just gets harder doesn’t it?

“The most important thing is to look at the guys who can pull on the jersey next week, those that can’t, and we will definitely need to freshen up before we play South Africa.”

Just as Canada had against Italy at the same venue on Saturday, the US were a confident and physically imposing outfit although coach Mike Tolkin felt they lost their way after conceding the early second-half try.

“Credit to Scotland, it was a team that was tired but they came out in the second half with a lot of energy when the game was in the balance,” he said.

“From our standpoint in the first half we got momentum, playing direct, and we went in with the lead. Coming out (for the second half) we knew it was important to come out of the clubhouse and establish ourselves, keep territory, and just the opposite happened.”