Vern Cotter will miss Scotland’s Six Nations start

Vern Cotter. Pic: Ian Rutherford
Vern Cotter. Pic: Ian Rutherford
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The long-running saga of Scotland’s new rugby coach appears to have taken another twist with the start of the Six Nations Championship just ten days away.

New Zealander Vern Cotter, scheduled to succeed interim appointment Scott Johnson, of Australia, when his contract at Clermont Auvergne runs out at the end of the season, was due to fly into Edinburgh on Tuesday to assist with preparations for the opener in Dublin, his fellow Kiwi Joe Schmidt, the Ireland coach revealed.

This was confirmed at the official launch in London by Johnson even though the SRU had still to make an announcement.

However, Johnson also said Cotter now had a “family issue” which prevented his attendance.

Johnson adds: “He was going to come across but that is not going to happen now. He may come across at some stage but he’s got a family issue now, so that’s fine.

“Let him do his thing and we’ll do ours.

“I’ve been filling him in on what we’re doing and the direction we’re heading in as we go and why ploayers have been picked. That way he will know the logic behind what we’ve been trying to do and at least when he hits the ground he does so running and there’s no need for massive change. He understands what we are trying to do. He’s part of this ride with us.

“I don’t think these events add extra pressure, in fact, they are a benefit.

“In life you hear the negative more often than the positive, but the positive stories coming out about the success the nation has had is a great story.”

Once again Johnson has hinted that preparations for the 2015 World Cup are the priority, saying he wouldn’t blood new players unless he was sure they were ready for Test rugby.

“We’ll always make sure they are equipped to do it physically: we don’t want to go to a gunfight with a water pistol.

“We’re not the finished article and we get that. What we need is a good base to pick from, and good mileage on the clock by the time we get to the World Cup.”

n HERIOT’S will hold a meeting on January 30 for members to discuss items contained in Scottish Rugby’s new policy document which includes plans for a semi-professional, eight-team league. Concerns have been expressed about whether this will be organised on a regional basis and what criteria traditional clubs will have to meet.