Scotland 10-40 Ireland: Vern Cotter sees a lot of work ahead

By Jamie LyallFor BBC Scotland at Murrayfield
Ireland centre Jared Payne races through to score against Scotland.
Ireland centre Jared Payne races through to score against Scotland.

Head coach Vern Cotter admitted Scotland have much to work on after the 40-10 loss to Ireland rendered them whitewashed in this year's Six Nations.

The Scots are a long way from fulfilling the Scottish Rugby Union's stated aim of winning the World Cup.

"We've got to address a fair few things in our game first before we make ourselves a true threat," he said.

"We need a mindset change and we'll have to work towards that and become more efficient."

After an encouraging autumn, the New Zealander's first championship at the helm ended in disappointment, as title-chasing Ireland ran in four tries during a frenetic encounter at Murrayfield.

"I knew this press conference wasn't going to be pleasant," he said.

"It's a competition where you need to develop confidence with victories early on.

"We conceded far too many turnovers; we only had 30% possession in the second half. Our mindset's got to be building games, not letting teams to get in front and play catch-up rugby.

"We've got to take silly errors out of our game, learn to keep ball, apply pressure. These are things that were brought home with brutal clarity today.

"In the context of the competition, one team that's building and has built and one team that's learning to build and not quite built yet."

Despite Scotland succumbing to a sixth successive home defeat, their worst run since 1970, Cotter retained the positive outlook that has characterised his media profile throughout the tournament.

"There were too many tackles missed today, a lot of things I think quite genuinely can be worked on reasonably quickly," he added.

"If I said we were dominated from start to finish I'd be worried, but I think there were periods of the game where we had them under pressure.

Finn Russell scored a first-half try for Scotland
Finn Russell scored a first-half try for Scotland

"We know we can do it - why do we let off, let's develop that, that's our building programme, our process of applying pressure. Let's continue it. Take away unforced errors, possessions lost - those are things we need to look at.

"We know we don't have a large number of players - we are what we are and who we are. We know we can't get a lot of injuries; we don't have a lot of depth in some positions. I knew that was going to be tough - these are good guys to work with, I just wish we'd get a shift a little bit sooner."

Geoff Cross' yellow card was Scotland's fifth of the tournament, an average of one per game, while the penalty count against Cotter's team rose to 12, eight conceded in a poor second half, a feature of this squad's play.

When asked if the persistent infringements stalled momentum, Cotter replied: "You have to say that. If we got a yellow card, that obviously was one of the reasons we didn't get field position in the second half.

"We need to be smarter in that part of the game - obviously we're pushing towards that."