'Cotter will bash a few heads together at Scotland'
April 3, 2014
Nathan Hines has backed Vern Cotter to sort out Scotland's problems © Getty Images
Clermont Auvergne lock Nathan Hines has backed Vern Cotter to shake up Scotland when he takes on the head coach role at the end of the season.
As Clermont prepare to face Leicester in this weekend's Heineken Cup quarter-final, Cotter will have his head still firmly focused on their prospects before he turns attention to Scotland. Despite the Scottish Rugby Union announcing Cotter as the national side's new boss 11 months ago, Cotter will preside over the rest of Clermont's season before taking up the role.
Hines, who played 77 Tests for Scotland, knows Cotter better than most having played for Clermont over the last three years and he believes there will be little room for sentimentality when Cotter takes on the reigns in June.
"When he first came here he was mad as a cut snake but he has mellowed a little bit," Hines told ESPN. "At Scotland he'll bash a few heads together. Vern says it how it is; he'll give everyone a good idea of what he wants which is a clear direction. Once you have clarity then you get more confidence.
"He's all about dominating the opposition and he'll expect the guys to front up. He's honest so if you've played rubbish, he'll tell you and on the other hand if you play well, you'll know.
"He'll try and make the team a little bit more stable. If guys are playing rubbish, then Vern will drop them so they have to play well."
Lee Byrne wants to finish his career at Clermont with silverware © Getty Images
Hines' views are echoed by ex-Wales fullback Lee Byrne who will bring an end to his three-season tenure at Clermont this summer to join the Dragons ahead of next term. For Byrne, he believes Cotter will adopt a similar method with Scotland as Warren Gatland did when he first took charge of Wales.
"I know how hard we train here in defence sessions and live contact, so there'll be a lot of that," Byrne said. "He'll bring them a hard edge like Gats has done with Wales. He'll focus on organisation and make sure they are secure defensively. I imagine the Scottish public are starting to get a bit agitated as they want results but I am sure Vern Cotter will bring that."
But before attention for Cotter switches to Clermont and Byrne starts focusing on the Dragons, Clermont will hope to end their season on a winning note as they vie for silverware in both the Heineken Cup and the Top 14, where they are currently second.
"I am really looking forward to going back home. I've done three years now at what is surely the most professional and elite club in Europe and I'm hoping I can leave here with some silverware."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.