Scots get feel-good factor from Autumn Tests

IR20141122. 22/11/14. Viagogo Autumn Test, Scotland v Tonga, Rugby Park, Kilmarnock. Scotland's Stuart Hogg touches down for a try.   Pic Ian Rutherford'''�Ian Rutherford 'ianrutherfordphotography@gmail.com'www.ianrutherfordphotography.com'07710337520
IR20141122. 22/11/14. Viagogo Autumn Test, Scotland v Tonga, Rugby Park, Kilmarnock. Scotland's Stuart Hogg touches down for a try. Pic Ian Rutherford'''�Ian Rutherford 'ianrutherfordphotography@gmail.com'www.ianrutherfordphotography.com'07710337520

The Autumn Tests are over and coach Vern Cotter can go away and gather his thoughts before the RBS 6 Nations begins in February.

He has every right to feel satisfied, 11 tries scored in a campaign is impressive, particularly running in five against an Argentina side which beat France on Saturday.

Stuart Cameron. Rugby Pundit.

Stuart Cameron. Rugby Pundit.

Scotland added another five against Tonga at the weekend but could easily have added three or four more.

The defence has been generally good throughout the campaign and we have at last shown that we have backs in the squad who are keen on scoring tries and not afraid to give it a go.

The chemistry between Stuart Hogg and Greig Laidlaw is there for all to see – they combined several times over the three matches and the Hoggy try following a Laidlaw break against Argentina illustrated how in tune they are with each other. Laidlaw had an excellent three matches, leading from the front, and not to be unkind to original skipper Grant Gilchrist, I feel the Jed man deserves the captain’s armband when the squad comes back together early next year. His move to Gloucester has transformed him as a player, and he would be my natural choice to lead the Scots in the 6 Nations.

Areas to look at? Well of course there’s the little errors which prove costly against quality opposition and the high penalty count throughout the three games. Penalties mean points for the opposition and while nobody in the team goes out to give away penalties, efforts have to be made to reduce the count considerably.

IR20141122. 22/11/14. Viagogo Autumn Test, Scotland v Tonga, Rugby Park, Kilmarnock. Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw takes a kick. Pic Ian Rutherford'''�Ian Rutherford 'ianrutherfordphotography@gmail.com'www.ianrutherfordphotography.com'07710337520

IR20141122. 22/11/14. Viagogo Autumn Test, Scotland v Tonga, Rugby Park, Kilmarnock. Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw takes a kick. Pic Ian Rutherford'''�Ian Rutherford 'ianrutherfordphotography@gmail.com'www.ianrutherfordphotography.com'07710337520

Vern Cotter has stamped his mark on Scotland for sure. Taking on the Scottish job at a time when the team were in a bad way would not have been easy, particularly watching from the sidelines for a year before getting his hands on the squad. But he has definitely made a difference. He’s not been afraid to talk to past coaches, players and key people involved in Scottish Rugby and take on board many things. During interviews he continuously talks about respecting the culture of this country. He’s like a sponge, absorbing information and using it to his (and Scotland’s) advantage.

Let’s not get carried away. All the good things from November will mean little if we can’t back it up against the other five nations. That is the next task and it’s an important one. Scotland need to start competing again and getting success on the big stage, particularly with the World Cup only months away.

There’s an exciting bunch of new fearless players in this squad, and the next generation could at last put Scotland back on the world rugby map in a big way.