Cotter is likely to be forced to do without influential playmaker Finn Russell for Saturday’s match, with the stand-off still hobbling about on crutches after injuring his ankle in Sunday’s win over the US. “They went back to a game they’ve been playing over the past two years, which is about getting over the advantage line and then piling on pressure”. “It’s going to be a hugely physical contest, a tough game”, he said.
A BTP statement said: “Our officers will be present at most games helping you travel safely, and get you home secure and on time”.
Gordon Reid and Richie Vernon join Cowan in making their bow in the tournament, while Edinburgh scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne could join them if brought on from the bench.
“Fraz [Brown] came on against America and made a big impact”.
“Yeah, definitely. We often shy away from our heritage a bit here in Scotland, but I think it’s good for us to embrace it and pull together”.
Carol Bell, head of culture and major events at Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, said: “We want to create a festival atmosphere around Rugby World Cup 2015 in Newcastle; something extra special that will make it memorable for everyone, whether you’re attending a game or not”.
“Next week will be next week”.
Cotter rejected suggestions that his side had a second-string feel to it, saying: ” This is our third game in 10 days.
“Right now we’ve not thought about Samoa”.
Scotland’s coach, who has half an eye on their subsequent game against Samoa which would seal the Scots’ passage into the quarter-finals, then couldn’t resist having a dig at World Cup organisers when he said: “I did not choose the draw”. Vernon’s case is particularly interesting – all the more so when it is in vogue to ask what it takes for a big man to play in midfield with scant experience of it. But this new centre is unlikely to be left flat-footed. “I’ve been really proud of the things I’ve achieved and I wouldn’t wish it any other way”.
“He’s not [an additional burden on me] at all”.
“We’ll need to be very good on the day”.
He explained: “I believe when we drive to the arena there is going to be a large support coming down from Scotland, and especially the Boundaries”.
Scotland have struggled to deal with the driving maul and they now take on a side who have got the technique down to a fine art.
Scott, in particular, has bounced back from injury to show the hard carrying that edges him ahead of Pete Horne in Vern Cotter’s power game.
In his absence, lock Lood de Jager will run the line-outs and although he’s done the job on occasions, he has to roll out a strategy which will be completely new because of the threat posed at the set-piece by South African-born Scots Josh Strauss and WP Nel.
Certainly, this is not the weakest team Cotter might have selected from the players available to him – he could have fielded several players in their secondary position, for one thing – and it does, as Laidlaw suggested, have serious physical strength.