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Matt Taylor gives incoming Scotland coach Gregor Townsend some advice

Published 18/11/2016

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend will get the Scotland job next year
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend will get the Scotland job next year

Gregor Townsend would be crazy to rip up Vern Cotter's Scotland blueprint when he takes over next summer, according to his right-hand man.

Defence coach Matt Taylor works closely with both men - assisting Townsend at Glasgow while also helping Cotter prepare the Dark Blues for Test clashes - and reckons the departing Kiwi has put Scotland on the path to success.

Bosses at the Scottish Rugby Union, though, do not seem to share his confidence in Cotter, who has been told his contract will not be renewed after the conclusion of next year's RBS 6 Nations.

Taylor will stay on at Murrayfield to once again link-up with in-coming boss Townsend and the Australia-born former Scotland A flanker expects his old Borders team-mate to put his own stamp on things.

However, he warned the new national team boss against taking the team in a radically different direction.

Taylor said: "I'm lucky enough that I'm in the Scotland set-up under Vern but also work with Gregor at Glasgow.

"There hasn't been a formal plan drawn up [to ensure a smooth transition] but I know Gregor is on the phone to Vern a lot and they talk about different things.

"I report back to Gregor too and tell him what we're doing here in the Scotland camp and how we're doing it. He recently said to me to make a note of anything that works well so we can continue with it going forward.

"Gregor is very detailed in his coaching so he is very conscious of things that work well and things that can be improved on.

"I would imagine he is only thinking about making small adaptations rather than wholesale changes.

"He will want to put his own spin on things as all new coaches do but he'd be crazy to change everything, because we're doing reasonably well. So there will be things that change, but also things that stay the same."

Townsend could be left with a nasty hangover of the Cotter era, however, should Scotland lose out to Argentina on Saturday.

Scotland - ranked ninth in the world, one place behind the Pumas - can overtake the South Americans with a win at Murrayfield. Defeat, however, could have grave knock-on effects for their World Cup hopes.

The draw for Japan 2019 takes place next May - two and a half years before the competition kicks-off - and governing body World Rugby will use the rankings to calculate the seeding for the pool stage.

If Scotland end up outside the top eight, they face the daunting prospect of having to overcome two major nations to make the quarter-finals.

But Taylor said: "We have talked about winning and the processes we need to win, but we haven't said we need to win because of our ranking.

"We know in the back of our minds it's important but so is winning every Test match.

"You're right to say this game has more importance in that sense but does that add pressure by saying that to the players? We're not preparing any less but of course we understand it. We're just looking to win first and foremost."

The Scots suffered yet another painful lesson last week against Australia as they let the Wallabies snatch a late victory.

It is not the first time Taylor has seen that particular episode play out but he sees reasons to be optimistic.

"I think we are ready to take on the onus of leading matches," he said. We just need to get better at making some of those decisions.

"When you up against one of the world's best teams like Australia you only need to make one poor decision and it can affect you.

Meanwhile, back-rower John Barclay reckons debutant Magnus Bradbury will take his Scotland debut in his stride when he runs out on Saturday.

The veteran Scarlets forward has offered to put a re-assuring arm round the 22-year-old Edinburgh flanker but believes it will not be necessary.

He said: "I've had a few chats with Magnus. I remember being that guy making my debut and it's very nerve-racking so anything I can do to help them I will, obviously.

"All I'd say to Magnus is make sure you know what you are doing because if you are in the game and you are thinking about it then you're not doing it. But I think he will be fine - he is a big boy, he knows what he is doing.

"Young guys these days don't seem to worry as much and hold that nervousness which I remember I did back in the day. They just go out there and just play."

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