Blair: Cotter will be looking for more against Canada
10 June 2014 13:57pm
Vern Cotter takes charge of his second game against Canada this weekend
Scotland's most capped scrum-half Mike Blair believes head coach Vern Cotter will be demanding more of his players against Canada this weekend, despite his reign beginning with victory over USA.
Cotter took charge of Scotland on Saturday for the first time since joining from French side Clermont Auvergne and duly saw his side ran out 24-6 winners courtesy of scores from Tim Visser and Stuart Hogg.
Next up is a clash with Canada this weekend giving New Zealander Cotter another chance to cast his eye over his players.
The team managed just one win at this year's RBS 6 Nations courtesy of a 21-20 result over Italy, and have just 15 months left before the World Cup starts in England.
And Blair, who amassed 85 caps before announcing his retirement from international rugby in January 2013, insists Scotland need to keep building over the summer tour, which also sees them take on Argentina and South Africa.
"Cotter placed huge emphasis on the basics and doing the simple things well," he said.
"When Scotland put phases together they looked organised and had rhythm but on the whole the game was such a stop-start affair, mainly due to continual scrummaging issues - not helped by the referee - and handling errors on both sides, that cohesion was rare.
"Against lower-ranked teams the key is building pressure through possession, going through the phases, manipulating the defence and waiting for opportunities. They will come, and when they come you've got to be clinical.
"Canada will provide a sterner test next week but, with this game under the belt, a more complete performance should be expected, and indeed demanded, by Cotter."
England Under-20s may have agonisingly missed out on a third straight World Rugby U20 Championship title on Saturday but head coach Jon Callard is adamant that fans are witnessing the next generation of international superstars.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.