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Cotter: We will learn from defeat

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter insists his men will learn valuable lessons from their brave defeat to New Zealand.

The Dark Blues pushed the All Blacks close as they went in search of that elusive first ever win against the Kiwis.

It was their 28th defeat from 30 clashes stretching back 109 years, b ut despite coming within 10 points of the world champions for the first time since 1991, they could only slump to a 24-16 defeat at BT Murrayfield.

Just a week on from scoring five tries against Argentina, the Scots were this time forced to show their defensive resolve and did so as they stood up to Steve Hansen's men for long spells in Edinburgh.

And Cotter expects his side to get better and better for the experience of taking on genuine world greats like Richie McCaw and Dan Carter.

He said: "Nobody likes losing and these guys least of all. That is encouraging. Not liking losing is a quality.

"We got close but we didn't get there so we have to say we are disappointed. But when you look at the content of what the players did out there, it's hard for a coach to be unhappy when you see that effort, desire and determination.

"Our defence was excellent. Apart from a couple of plays, everybody put their hands up and really led the team.

"I feel for the players. We always knew this game was going to give us things and I think it gave us a lot of positives.

"The review after the Argentina game was really honest - the players really had a good look at themselves. This game gives us another chance to do that having taken on the world's best.

"There were a lot of really good things in the game but also a lot of things we need to improve. But that's the nature of this group - they want to improve. They are young and want to move forward."

While the Kiwis put out a youthful line-up featuring McCaw and Carter as the rare old heads, Cotter named the same XV that played so brilliantly for an hour against the Pumas last Saturday.

And like that match, the Scots had to bounce back from an early set back. Victor Vito was allowed to power home from 25 yards out with Stuart Hogg and Greig Laidlaw hanging off him just 10 minutes in.

But McCaw's loose pass landed straight in Tommy Seymour's hands as the Glasgow wing scored his second intercept try in as many weeks just two minutes later.

Laidlaw landed the conversion and three penalties, while another three successful penalties from Carter kept the game close.

But New Zealand - who also saw Colin Slade kick three points with a late penalty - were able to put day-light between themselves and their hosts when man of the match Jeremy Thrush crashed over late on as a gap finally appeared in the Scottish defence.

The result could have been all so different had Laidlaw not sent a penalty wide with 15 minutes left while his side trailed by a single point.

"It was a big chance but it just hung out to the right," said the skipper. "But we win together and we lose together. I will take the credit when I kick the winner but that one just got away in the end."

Kiwi's head coach Hansen, however, saw enough to suggest Scotland will soon pose problems for their Northern Hemisphere neighbours.

He said: "I think Scotland are a very good side on the way up. I really do mean that sincerely.

"There was a period in the game where they wanted to play in their 22 and maybe when they review the game they will say they should have kicked that, because we [the All Blacks] defended that really well and put them under pressure.

"But they are a bit like the All Blacks team (today). They are young and learning and will get a lot of this game - a lot of confidence for sure.

"I think by the time the Six Nations comes around they will be right in it."


From Belfast Telegraph