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New coach Townsend backed to continue Scottish revival

Scotland 29 Italy 0

By Andy Newport

Gregor Townsend is the perfect man to build on the foundations laid by out-going Scotland head coach Vern Cotter, according to Dark Blues wing Tim Visser. Kiwi Cotter bowed out after three years in charge with Saturday's 29-0 drubbing of Italy at Murrayfield.

While the Scots' third win of this year's Six Nations campaign was good enough only for a fourth-place finish ‑­­ joint second if points difference is disregarded ‑ there is no ignoring the strides forward the team have made under Cotter.

The 14-try haul gathered over the past seven weeks is a new Scottish record, while their current world ranking of fifth sees them sit above the rugby powerhouses of France, South Africa and Wales.

The task of continuing that development falls to Townsend, controversially chosen to take over from Cotter despite the incumbent's encouraging job performance.

But Visser reckons the man who led Glasgow to the Guinness PRO12 title in 2015 has already demonstrated a game plan that will work with the national team.

The Harlequins finisher said: "I think the style will be similar under Gregor. If you look at the way Glasgow have played over the last couple of years, they play very exciting rugby.

"I remember when I first joined Edinburgh we used to play the exciting rugby and Glasgow didn't.

"But there's been a complete turnaround in the style Glasgow play. A lot of off-loading, a lot of backs play. It's great to watch.

"Hopefully, it will be quite a seamless transition to Scotland for Gregor."

Cotter inherited a team in transition when he took up the reins back in the summer of 2014. His first Six Nations ended in the humiliation of five straight defeats.

But he leaves ­‑ bound for French side Montpellier - with his CV enhanced. Only a controversial late call by referee Craig Joubert denied his side a World Cup semi-final slot 18 months ago, while he is the first Scottish head coach of the professional era to claim a win ratio of more than 50 per cent.

And Visser admits his players owe him a debt of gratitude.

"He has been great," he said. "He's a very positive coach. He's always wanted us to play rugby and always wanted us to score tries."

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