Cotter backs Scotland to learn from Australia defeat


Scotland will learn from their painful defeat to Australia and produce improved performances going forward, according to Vern Cotter.

For the second time in in as many matches against the Wallabies, Scotland were denied a confidence-boosting win in the closing minutes.

After the heartbreak of losing to a Bernard Foley penalty at the Rugby World Cup it looked like they would get some revenge at Murrayfield, but the fly-half once again denied them with a conversion in the 76th minute to secure a 23-22 win.

Cotter has been pleased with the reaction from his squad, though, and is confident they have learned lessons from it ahead of this weekend's clash with Argentina.

"Nobody likes losing, but the honesty within the group first thing on Monday was a down-to-earth analysis of what did we actually contribute to that game," Cotter told a media conference.

"It was a very close-cut thing, only one point, but we were pretty tough on ourselves that Monday and the players were pretty tough on themselves.

"We don't want to contribute to the same extent against Argentina. We're looking at discipline, decision-making close to the line, not precipitating things, taking time, waiting for structure to be in place and then power up on them.

"I thought defensively we did well at the weekend and we want to improve our set-piece defence. Australia scored two tries from set-piece last weekend. It was the first hit-out in the autumn and there were things that we focused on. Now the players are determined to do better."

They will have to do it without back-row forward John Hardie, though, after he was ruled out for the rest of the year with an ankle injury.

Hardie sprained his ankle during the defeat to Australia and underwent corrective surgery in Edinburgh on Thursday, he is not expected to return to action for up to eight weeks.

Also missing against the Pumas will be Alasdair Dickinson (hamstring), Richie Gray (possible concussion) and Josh Strauss (calf).


Scotland team: Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Tommy Seymour, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw; Allan Dell, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, John Barclay.

Replacements: Ross Ford, Alex Allan, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Ali Price, Pete Horne, Tim Visser.