Monday 26 August 2019

Schmidt: Vern and I are not too different - it's just he's a bit scarier

David Kelly

David Kelly

Vern Cotter and Joe Schmidt go head to head for the first time in international combat but one might be mistaken for thinking the pair had never met.

They remain interesting outsiders to link up again with the All Blacks; Cotter dismissed the speculation but conceded it could happen at some time in the future.

Schmidt: 'I learned a fair few things off him and I don’t think we’re too different in that regard. It’s just that he’s a bit scarier when he says it'
Schmidt: 'I learned a fair few things off him and I don’t think we’re too different in that regard. It’s just that he’s a bit scarier when he says it'

For now, setting aside a storied personal and professional relationship in such an intense week is clearly paramount, in public at least; both coaches have more urgent priorities to attend to.

Hence, despite a ten-year working relationship, each man deferred when asked to assess the other.

"Not a lot," was Cotter's reply when asked would facing Schmidt, his former Bay Of Plenty and Clermont sidekick, make his analysis easier.

"Because they've got all facets of the game covered. They can kick. They can run. They're good at set phase. They've got lineout drives. They're a very skilful team, powerful team. They go to the air if they need to find space.

"They're obviously a well-drilled team. They've spent a lot of time together. We've been just trying to get a team back on its feet and ready to take on what is going to be a very tough game."

EFFUSIVE

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Schmidt was a little more effusive but still veered towards the general as soon as he could.

"They'll be uncompromising. They will be very difficult around the fringes and very combative. It's the way Vern played, it's the way he demands people play, that they are combative," he said.

"He doesn't make very much differentiation between one and 15, or 23 for that matter. Everyone's got to take that responsibility for being particularly combative and taking responsibility for their role.

"I learned a fair few things off him and I don't think we're too different in that regard. It's just that he's a bit scarier when he says it.

"Certainly he'll demand a fair bit from them and I've no doubt that in the circumstances that exist, they'll be demanding a heck of a lot from themselves, the Scottish players."

Scotland have made two changes to the side that led England at half-time last week but ultimately fell to a fourth championship defeat.

The Glasgow duo of loosehead prop Ryan Grant and blindside flanker Adam Ashe replace Alasdair Dickinson and Rob Harley respectively.

"It's a challenge," added Cotter. "We're playing the champions. They want to keep the title."

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