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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020
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Scotland are bringing in a hostage negotiation specialist to prepare team for World Cup

Eric Blondeau will try improve their decision making.

Scotland face South Africa, USA, Japan and Samoa in Pool B.
Scotland face South Africa, USA, Japan and Samoa in Pool B.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A SIDEWAYS MOVE from Vern Cotter.

In a World Cup, teams will try everything they can to give themselves the edge over the course of the tournament, and it seems Scotland and Vern Cotter are trying out a particularly unusual tactic to prepare themselves mentally.

The Scotsman report that a French hostage negotiation specialist has been drafted in to coach players on their critical decision making at their pre-World Cup training camp, which started this week.

Eric Blondeau has trained negotiators at the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), who worked on the hostage situations in Paris earlier this year, following the killing at the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Head coach Vern Cotter confirmed to The Scotsman that Blondeau has been drafted in, after previously working with him at Clermont Auvergne.

“There’s a chap who’ll be coming to meet us in France called Eric Blondeau, who has worked in hostage negotiations and with the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), which is the French SAS equivalent.

“He has a lot of experience in traumatic, or let’s say difficult, decision-making situations and he’ll come and speak to a few of the players.

“He’ll be periodically coming in and having a talk with myself. I met with him a month or so ago and we spoke about the challenges we have ahead. He’s very good at throwing up ideas, Cotter said.

Despite his extensive background in high-pressure life-or-death situations, it remains to be seen how Blondeau can help Scotland prepare for their World Cup opener with Japan on September 23.

– First published 10.20

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Neil Treacy

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