Cotter’s Scotland have ability to pull off shock

Vern Cotter believes Scotland can gain an edge in the front row thanks to an experience trio
Vern Cotter believes Scotland can gain an edge in the front row thanks to an experience trio
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Scotland’s rugby team are being tipped to give world champions New Zealand a run for their money at BT Murrayfield today.

The backing comes from Augustin Creevy, captain of the Argentina side Scotland defeated 41-31 last weekend and who has faced the All Blacks twice in recent months and six times in a Test career spanning nine years.

“Scotland have a really good team and they have a really good chance,” said Creevy. “It is 15 against 15 and after a good demonstration against us they are going to be competitive.

“It is going to be hard for Scotland but they can win.”

Even Scotland coach Vern Cotter admits “no logical person” could fancy his side to break a jinx of 109 years in which they have lost 27 times and drawn twice against today’s opponents. But Cotter has also hinted that if there is an edge to be had it could be in the front row were Scotland field an experienced trio which includes hooker Creevy’s former Worcester propping colleague Euan Murray.

“Euan is getting better and better and I think the scrum against New Zealand is going to be good for Scotland,” added Creevy.

Meanwhile, Scottish rugby’s current “first family” – the Laidlaws – are in a no-lose situation going into today’s game, Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has admitted. At the same time Greig must be concerned that his cousin, Clark, son of ex-Scotland and Lions scrum half Roy, has a job with the New Zealand Rugby Union helping to maintain the All Black talent production.

Does it make Scotland’s task even harder with Clark effectively working against them in his role?

Said Greig: “Clark is working with (Wellington) Hurricanes. He’s done well. He’s enjoying it and in terms of his career it’s a great place to learn rugby.

“I’m often in touch with Clark who is working [seconded] with Samoa at the moment spreading his wings.”

Clark Laidlaw, a former sevens cap, went out to New Zealand after his pro career with Border Reivers ended. Initially he worked with the Taranaki provincial set-up then All Blacks sevens’ team as a skills coach and performance analyst. Last year he was appointed skills coach to the Hurricanes and subsequently assistant coach of the Super-15 team.

“I have loved working with the team. It is great testing yourselves as a group in some of the best stadiums and against some of the best teams in world rugby,” Laidlaw told Scrum magazine in which he also highlighted the task facing Scotland.

“It’s hard to say how Vern Cotter will go as I have never seen him coach but he certainly had very good success in France and has lots of experience in building a quality team.

“This will take a bit of time and I am sure they will be moving in the right direction. We all know there are some challenges in our playing numbers and strength in depth. But if Scotland are at full strength they have enough good players to put together a strong team. The All Blacks are in reasonable shape. They have lost only once in around two years.

“The Autumn tour is always a bit tougher in the fact the players have been going since January and played some pretty intense rugby but they have built a quality squad over the last couple of seasons and have a good mix of experience.”