Cotter not surprised by Schmidt’s Ireland success

Scotland coach Vern Cotter says that the success of Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has not been a surprise to him.

Schmidt was once Cotter’s protege but has gone on to be appointed as Ireland head coach where he has helped make Ireland the third highest ranked team in the world.

The Ireland coach once worked under Cotter at Clermont but they are now both Six Nations coaches with Cotter is preparing for his first tournament.

Schmidt and Cotter’s presence along with Wales coach Warren Gatland means that 50 percent of the head coaches involved are from New Zealand.

Under Schmidt Ireland have won 10 out of 13 Tests and also managed to push the All Blacks to the brink in 2013.

“He’s much better than me!” Cotter, 53, jokingly said of Schmidt at the 2015 Six Nations launch in London.

“This is what’s good about the games: we have a very solid friendship based on good and bad times we’ve had together.

“We like to have a beer and talk about what our families are doing, but then I know he’s preparing his team to give us a tough time and obviously he knows I’m doing the same thing.

“So it’s done with utmost respect but within that there’s a very competitive nature.

“It’s nice to catch up with him, and then I know Gatland as well so it’s good to see him too, and it’s something unique we have in rugby.”

I’m not surprised at all to see Joe do so well with Ireland: he’s a smart man and he’s done very well,” added Cotter.

“He’s brought that team together and got some great results so all credit to him,” said the Scotland boss, whose side don’t play Ireland until the final day of the Six Nations at Murrayfield on March 21.

Schmidt, who worked under Cotter at Clermont from 2007-2010, has a reputation for being a tough coach, but he insisted he had nothing on his old boss.

“I wouldn’t want to physically lock horns with him,” said Schmidt, looking to guide to back-to-back titles for the first time since 1949.

“He’s a big, strong man and I think his nickname in France was ‘les yeux de glace’, the eyes of ice.

“He didn’t even have to say anything and he’d strike a bit of fear, and that was just with the coaching staff, let alone the players.”

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