Cotter revels in Scotland composure


Vern Cotter was delighted with the way Scotland staved off Ireland's second-half comeback to begin their Six Nations campaign with a 27-22 victory at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Ireland began the 2017 edition as favourites alongside defending champions England, but Joe Schmidt's men found themselves 21-5 down inside half an hour.

Converted scores from Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson after the interval had Ireland ahead by a point and Scotland fans could have been forgiven for fearing another narrow defeat like the ones suffered against Australia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and in the November Test last year.

But Greig Laidlaw slotted over two late penalties to secure victory, leaving Cotter satisfied with his team's resilience and composure.

"When there was one point in it at the end there I suppose everyone thought it was a similar scenario," Cotter said. "But the guys have obviously learned and improved and we managed to claw our way back in at the end there so I think it's a great win for them.

"I think it will validate a lot of the work they have been doing and I'm really happy, it's quite a nice feeling to be honest. Australia was another one-pointer then we sneaked through a game against Argentina, the players are finding way to win games.

"I thought we found a way to get us in trouble again but we dominated first half and I think they dominated large parts of the second half and there was composure in the end and we got what we wanted.

"If we're going to be critical we'd have loved a couple more [tries] in the second half, that's something we can look forward to and move forward on when we come back together in the week

"There was some good attacking play, my coaches are working hard and finding ways to improve players and I think it's a great team effort from everyone. It's been a while since we had a win in the first round of the RBS 6 Nations so that'll create a really positive dynamic going forwards."

Schmidt, meanwhile, conceded Ireland's tardy arrival at Murrayfield carried over into their first-half display, which did at least earn them a losing bonus point ahead of a trip to Italy.

"We were late arriving to the stadium and we seemed to be late to everything in the first half," he said. "We were a little bit sluggish in certain areas and let them set the tempo. 

"You can prepare to the best of your ability, but it's what you deliver that counts. We now have to go to Rome and work for the points. 

"We got some things right in the second half. We can work on that, but we have to start better."