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Joe Schmidt's former boss is looking forward to going head-to-head on the final day of the 6 Nations

Vern Cotter coached with Schmidt at Clermont for three years.

Cotter is heading into his first 6 Nations campaign as Scotland coach.
Cotter is heading into his first 6 Nations campaign as Scotland coach.
Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

THERE MIGHT NOT be two coaches who have contributed more to European club rugby over the last five years than Joe Schmidt and Vern Cotter. Schmidt’s Leinster side played a swashbuckling style of rugby that yielded four trophies in three seasons and the kiwi has continued his winning habit with the Irish team.

Cotter only won a single Top 14 title and one Challenge Cup in eight seasons at Clermont but the French side were the second favourite team of a lot of fans due to their dynamic play that was full of power and offloads.

Cotter and Schmidt coached together with the Bay of Plenty and the Ireland boss was Cotter’s assistant when Clermont ended their Top 14 drought in 2010. Now in charge of Scotland, Cotter will try to emulate his old number two by also winning the Six Nations at the first attempt.

Joe Schmidt It is strange to see Schmidt in a Clermont hoodie. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The old friends will face each other on the final day and Cotter is looking forward to getting reacquainted with Schmidt.

“He’s much better than me,” Cotter joked.

“He’ll clean us up. This is what is good about the game. I have a very solid friendship with Joe based on good times and bad times we’ve had together. We like to have a beer and talk about what our families are doing but I know he is preparing his team to give us a tough time. Obviously he knows I’m doing the same thing.”

You might have thought it would be a strange thing for Cotter to see his former assistant usurp his own achievements in terms of trophies won but the Scotland head coach was happy to tip his hat to everything Schmidt has done since stepping out on his own.

“Not at all,” Cotter said when asked if he was surprised at how Schmidt’s reputation had exploded in the game.

“He is a smart man. He has done very well and he has brought that team together and had some very good results. Credit to him because he has done very well.”

If Ireland are in contention for a title on the final day then they can expect a very tough challenge at Murrayfield. Not only did Ireland lose there on their last visit but whenever Cotter and Schmidt’s sides played at club level, it was usually a tight tussle decided by the smallest of margins.

A repeat of this semi-final clash between Leinster and Clermont in 2012 would not be good for the cardiac health of Irish supporters.

Source: Alfred Wallace Rugby 2012/YouTube

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