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Cotter seeking Scots improvement

Scotland coach Vern Cotter admitted he was pleased to see Scotland finally get back to winning ways - but admitted the Dark Blues will have to improve before the World Cup.

The Scots finally ended eight months of misery by beating Italy 16-12 in Turin.

A drab affair in the Olympic Stadium exploded into life five minutes from time when Henry Pyrgos ran in the winning try.

But there were plenty of reasons for Cotter to be concerned as Italy dominated proceedings for an hour before the Scots finally clicked into gear.

Cotter said: "Life is easier when you are winning games but we know we'll have to lift our performance for next week. It's only our second game as we build up for a World Cup but we showed strength of character which played a part in this win and we withstood a lot of Italian attacks.

"But as soon as we stopped giving away needless penalties we were much better.

"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.

"I'm happy with a few things and I thought the guys put in reasonable performance but not a perfect one by any means. We had five new caps playing so that's another positive for us.

"It was a mixed bag of positives and negatives and we have a lot of thinking to do and plenty to work on.

"We will look at the game there was information given to us out there regarding team performances and we need to dissect things.

"Other players will get opportunities next week when Italy come to Murrayfield and we will look to step things up again and keep improving."

Alasdair Strokosch took over the captaincy after Grant Gilchrist was ruled out with a stomach bug and admitted his delight after he led his side to a win which spoke volumes about the spirit in the squad.

He said: "I was very proud of the team's character to come away with a victory. I congratulated the players and told them I was proud. Italy are a strong side and it was just great to come through it with a victory."

Italy head coach Jacques Brunel insists his side will be ready for next Saturday's rematch at Murrayfield.

He said: "Our main aim was to understand where we are as a squad regarding our strength and conditioning.

"It's disappointing to lose a match where we had so much possession, about 70 per cent so that's tough to take.

"Now we need to fix some things before we play Scotland in Edinburgh and I'm confident we can do that."


From Belfast Telegraph