Scotland cut seven from Rugby World Cup squad

Vern Cotter will not stay on after next year

Scotland coach Vern Cotter has cut seven players from his squad for the Rugby
World Cup after they ended an eight month losing streak with a 12-16 victory
over Italy.

Cotter says that Scotland have much work to do before the world cup kicks off
after they turned the match around in the final 10 minutes when Henry Pyrgos
scored the game’s only try with Duncan Weir kicking the conversion to finish
on 11 points.

Scotland host Italy at Murrayfield next week and face France in Paris on September
5 in what will be their final test before rugby’s showpiece event in England
next month.

Although Cotter welcomed the win against a very “physical” Italy
side, he admitted it was a “mixed bag of positives and negatives”.

“It’s only our second game as we build up for the World Cup but we showed
strength of character which played a part in this win and we withstood a lot
of Italian attacks,” Cotter said.

“It was a hard game and anything but simple but we made it hard for ourselves.
But then we found a way to win and that’s important.

“Italy are a tough team and are very physical. It was a mixed bag of positives
and negatives and we have a lot of thinking to do and plenty to work on.”

After a 28-22 defeat to Ireland in Dublin last week, Cotter made 11 changes
in a bid to run the rule over most of his squad.

He had initially handed the captain’s armband to Grant Gilchrist 10 months
after injury cost the big Edinburgh lock the captaincy ahead of last year’s
autumn internationals.

Yet Gilchrist suffered another blow when he was ruled out of the game with
illness, meaning Alasdair Strokosch — who did not play against Ireland — skippered
the visitors.

“We managed to get a try, but it could have gone either way,” Cotter
added.

Italy will travel to Edinburgh hoping for a repeat of last February when they
stunned Cotter’s side 22-19 in the Six Nations.

“It’s disappoitning to lose a match like this after dominating possession
so much,” said Brunel.

“But it was our first game and we were up against a Scotland side that
could have beaten Ireland last week.”

In front of a home crowd, Cotter said he will be expecting a more constructive
approach.

“Life is easier when you are winning games but we know we’ll have to lift
our performance,” he added.

“We’ve got to be honest about it and look to construct a game next week.”

Glasgow Warriors’ pair Mike Cusack (prop) and Rory Hughes (wing) have returned
to Scotstoun having made their first outings for the national team this summer,
and both starting against Italy.

Edinburgh Rugby quintet Allan Dell (prop), Dougie Fife (wing), Damien Hoyland
(wing), Ben Toolis (lock) and Hamish Watson (back-row) will rejoin the capital
club, with Hoyland and Watson also adding to their international honours at
the weekend.

Warriors’ hooker Kevin Bryce – who joined the squad last week as precautionary
cover – has also returned to his club.

Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter, said: “I’d like to thank the players for
all their hard work throughout what has been a very tough pre-season campaign.

“Their commitment to improving as individuals and to our collective endeavor
has been exceptional, and has made this a very tough decision.”

“They are understandably disappointed to miss out at this stage, however
they have done themselves proud with their performances in training and the
two Test matches.”

He added: “The nature of Test rugby is that we may need to call upon any
of these players at any given time during our journey to and through what will
be a very tough Rugby World Cup campaign, so we’ll continue to monitor their
performances at club level very closely.”

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