Vern Cotter

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Vern Cotter
File:Vern Cotter.jpg
Full name Anthony Vernon Cotter
Date of birth (1962-01-27) 27 January 1962 (age 57)
Place of birth New Zealand
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 97 kg (214 lb)
Notable relative(s) Jeremy Cotter (brother)
Rugby union career
Current status
Position(s) Head Coach
Current team Scotland
Playing career
Position No. 8
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Counties Manukau
FC Lourdes
FC Lourdes
U.S. Castelnau-Madiran
Coaching career
Years Club / team
Bay of Plenty
Crusaders (Forwards coach)
Clermont Auvergne
correct as of 26 April 2014.

Anthony Vernon 'Vern' Cotter (born 27 January 1962) is a New Zealand rugby union coach and former player, who currently coaches the Scotland national rugby union team.[1]


Vern Cotter spent 10 years playing for Counties Manukau in New Zealand before representing a number of clubs in France. In 1999, he returned to New Zealand and took on the role of head coach of Bay of Plenty in the National Provincial Championship. During his first year in charge, he led the side to the Second Division championship of the North Island, but did not progress in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

During the 2004 Super 12 season, Cotter was made forwards coach of the Crusaders, when the side finished runners-up to the ACT Brumbies. He continued in his post as forwards coach through the 2005 season when the Crusaders won the competition, and the side retained their title in the 2006 season.


Top 14

In 2006, Cotter was made Head Coach of ASM Clermont Auvergne for the 2006–07 Top 14 season when Clermont finished runners-up behind Stade Français. The following year, Cotter coached the side to 20 out of 26 victories in the pool stages, finishing first in the table before the knock-out stage. However, Clermont finished second overall, losing to Toulouse in the Grand Final. For the third successive year under Cotter, Clermont finished second in the 2008–09 Top 14 season, but did win their first title in 2009–10 after beating Perpignan in the final. In the 2010–11, 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons Clermont were knocked out in the semi-finals. However, in Cotters final season in charge of Clermont, Clermont were knocked out in the quarter-finals, losing at home 22–16 to defending champions Castres. This loss was also Clermont's first loss at home in 77 matches, which dates back to the 16–13 loss to Biarritz in Round 13 of the 2009–10 Top 14 season.


During his first year as head coach of Clermont, Cotter was able to lead the side into the Heineken Cup, after winning all their matches in the 2006–07 European Challenge Cup. Clermont were unable to advance out of the group stages between 2007 and 2009. During the 2009–10 Heineken Cup, Clermont entered the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup for the first time, but lost to Leinster in the quarter-finals. In the 2012-13 season, Cotter led the side to the Heineken Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium, but lost 16-15 to Toulon. During the 2013–14 Heineken Cup, Clermont finished in seed 2 after the pool stage, winning five from six matches (lost against Racing Métro, won against Harlequins home and away, Scarlets home and away, and Racing Métro at home). Cotter led Clermont to their third consecutive quarter-final, beating Leicester Tigers 22–16. However, their third consecutive semi-final ended with a record losing margin of 46–6 to Saracens at Twickenham.


Cotter departed Clermont in May 2014, to take on the role of head coach of Scotland.[2] He was named the coach in May 2013, but as Clermont and the SRU failed to agree to release Cotter a year earlier, Cotter remained with Clermont until the end of his contract or until Clermont was knocked out of theirs respective tournaments. Cotters first challenge as Scotland's head coach, was a 4-match tour across three continents over four consecutive weeks. In Cotters first match in charge, he led the team to a 24–6 win over the United States in Houston. A week later, a 19–17 win over Canada in Toronto. Cotter first major match in charge was a Friday night fixture against Argentina in Córdoba. Heading into this match, Scotland had won three connective matches against the Pumas on Argentine soil. This streak was extended following a 21–19 win over Argentina. A week later, Cotter faced his toughest challenge, an away match to the Springboks outside the International Window. This meant, Cotter could only select players that played for either Glasgow Warriors or Edinburgh. The weakened team lost 55–6 in Port Elizabeth, the biggest losing margin to South Africa on South African soil.

In Cotters first ever home match at Murrayfield Stadium, Scotland won convincingly 41–31 scoring five tries against Argentina. It was the most tries they had scored against a Tier 1 nation since they scored five tries against Ireland in 2007. It was believed much of the team were based around the success of Scottish club side Glasgow Warriors, with 10 of the starting XV from the Glasgow side, with a further four players on the bench. The following fixture was a narrow 16–24 loss to New Zealand. For much of that match, Scotland had been in touching distance of a first ever victory over the All Blacks, but a late try during the 73rd minute secured the win for the No. 1 ranked side. Scotland's final fixture was against Tonga at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock. The match was the first ever match to be played on a fully artificial pitch by a Tier 1 nation approved by World Rugby. For Scotland, they won convincingly 37–12, gaining revenge following their first ever loss to Tonga in 2012.

During the 2015 Six Nations Championship, Scotland finished last place with no wins in their campaign. Most of their losses were narrow defeats, including a home loss to Italy for the first time since 2007. Though, during Scotland's Rugby World Cup warm-ups, Scotland gained revenge with a record win 48–7. Before Scotland's warm-up matches began, Cotter extended his contract with the SRU until 2017.[3] During the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Scotland progressed from the pool stage with wins against Japan, 45–10, the United States, 39–16, and Samoa, 36–33, losing only to South Africa, 34–16. In the knock out stage they faced a highly fancied Australia team. With six minutes to go Scotland scored a try to lead against all expectations by 34–32. However, with a minute to go Australia kicked a highly controversial and disputed penalty to win the game 35–34 and end Scotland's participation in the tournament.

International Matches as Head Coach

Record by country

Opponent Played Won Drew Lost Win ratio (%) For Against
 Argentina 2 2 0 0 100.00% 62 50
 Australia 1 0 0 1 0.00% 34 35
 Canada 1 1 0 0 100.00% 19 17
 England 2 0 0 2 0.00% 22 40
 France 3 1 0 2 33.33% 53 52
 Ireland 3 0 0 3 0.00% 57 103
 Italy 4 3 0 1 75.00% 119 61
 Japan 1 1 0 0 100.00% 45 10
 New Zealand 1 0 0 1 0.00% 16 24
 South Africa 2 0 0 2 0.00% 22 89
 Samoa 1 1 0 0 100.00% 36 33
 Tonga 1 1 0 0 100.00% 37 12
 Wales 2 0 0 2 0.00% 46 53
 United States 2 2 0 0 100.00% 63 22
TOTAL 26 12 0 14 46.15% 631 601


  • Douglas Horn Trophy
    • Winners: 2014

Club honours




  1. Guide de l'amateur de rugby 2011 - Page 59 Collectif, Dominique Auzias, Jean-Paul Labourdette - 2011 " Dans le groupe de la mort, les joueurs de Vern Cotter s'inclinent d'un petit point sur la pelouse du Leinster (29-28), en quart de finale. Souvenirs, souvenirs... Onzième finale pour les Clermontois et déjà l'épée de la malédiction des Jaunards ..."
  2. Cotter confirmed as new Scotland coach
  3. Scottish Rugby: Vern Cotter extends contract until 2017