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Scotland boss Vern Cotter sees room for improvement in winning display

Published 18/06/2016

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw expects more from his side in the second Test
Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw expects more from his side in the second Test

Vern Cotter was dissatisfied with elements of Scotland's performance in their 26-13 victory over Japan but acknowledged the result at the Toyota Stadium trumps all other matters.

The Dark Blues drew first blood in their two-Test tour of Japan after taking advantage of the Brave Blossoms being reduced to 13 men either side of half-time following two yellow cards.

In that period, the visitors scored 14 points which ultimately proved crucial between the two teams, although Cotter lived up to his reputation as a tough man to please by admitting his side need to improve before next week's second and final Test in Tokyo.

The Scotland head coach said: "There are certain parts of the content, when we have a look at it, that I am sure we will want to improve.

"We got the essential, which was a victory, and we created a number of opportunities. Another week together will help improve cohesion and help to get some of those opportunities to stick.

"Our set-piece held up. There were a couple of balls lost. Our defensive line out was okay. Our discipline was probably the key to it. We made more errors and they turned over a fair number of balls to us, which enabled us to get the pressure off.

"Our presence at ruck time was good. We could not string certain things together but there are ingredients there that will help us play big games and keep possession for longer."

Captain Greig Laidlaw booted the conversions to a penalty try and WP Nel's score and added four penalties, taking his tally on Saturday to 16 points.

He had a similar sense of frustration to his coach in that a number of things had gone right, including the ruthless way they exploited the two yellow cards handed out to their opponents, but there were still mediocre spells.

"Fits and starts, sometimes we were good, sometimes we weren't," he said. "I don't know if we switched off because we have not played for that length of time. We will look to tighten up in a few areas next week to make sure that is not the case.

"We need to look at ourselves. Take the positives, there are positives in a win, it is good to win at this level, but I think we can tighten up. I was a little disappointed in the maul on a couple of occasions and think we can tighten up there.

"We prepared well for the game. We are coming off the back of a long season in the UK but we are fit and strong and feel that with another week of training and a game under our belts we should be better. We are pleased with a lot of areas in our game, the most important being that we got the win."

For Mark Hammett, the interim Japan coach, there was a lot of pride in the effort and determination of his players, particularly in defence, but frustration that in the end poor discipline cost them badly.

Shota Horie's converted try put the 2019 World Cup hosts 7-3 ahead and they led 10-9 before Hendrik Tui and then Rikiya Matsuda were sin-binned, allowing Scotland to take advantage.

Hammett said: "They [Scotland] brought what we expected them to bring, very confrontational in attack. They looked to the set-pieces, which we generally managed - not always but I thought we got a pass mark for that. The second Test will be really intriguing.

"Ultimately the yellow cards were fair yellow cards, but were made worse when you are under the microscope for earlier ones. For any team, you have got to get your discipline right."

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