Cotter: "I haven't resigned"

Wed, 29 May 2013 19:20
Large vern cotter clermont Large vern cotter gestures Large vern cotter h s

Vern Cotter's future as coach of French giants Clermont overshadowed his first press conference as incoming Scotland national boss on Wednesday.

Vern Cotter's future as coach of French giants Clermont overshadowed his first press conference as incoming Scotland national boss on Wednesday.

The 51-year-old New Zealander had been named Scotland coach on Monday but with the proviso he saw out the one-year remaining on his contract at Clermont, who he has been with since 2006.

However, he appeared to muddy the waters when he launched a stinging critique of the club, accusing several players - including Australian flyhalf Brock James - of hiding when the going got tough in crucial matches, and voiced fears over their future in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday.

His criticisms came in the light of the crushing dual disappointment of losing to French rivals Toulon in the European Cup Final and then, with their morale shattered, losing to unfancied Castres in the Top 14 semifinals last Saturday.

However, Cotter has himself been criticised for delivering only the 2010 French title during his spell in charge and outgoing club president Rene Fontes announced on Wednesday that the New Zealander had offered his resignation.

Cotter, though, told the Press Association on the sidelines of the press conference that he had done no such thing.

"No, I haven't resigned. This is unclear. I would like a little bit of clarity and I will be ringing my president to see what the situation is," said Cotter.

"Apparently there has been a reaction to an article I gave stating my honest appraisal of how the club should move forward.

"I'm surprised because we had agreed to move forward to 2014, so I will obviously be asking a few questions.

"We have had discussions with Mark Dodson and the Scotland management team early on and the club asked me to stay for another year.

"I don't know if that position has changed but that will be part of the phone call that I make.

"The most important thing is to make sure whatever decision is made is done properly."

Cotter, who arrived in France on the back of being part of the Crusaders coaching team that landed successive Super Rugby titles, said he was looking forward to the new challenge of coaching a national side.

Earlier this year, he ruled himself out of contention for the Ireland vacancy when Declan Kidney didn't have his contract renewed.

His place was eventually taken by Cotter's compatriot Joe Schmidt, who guided Leinster to back-to-back successes in the European Cup (2011 and 2012) after being an assistant to Cotter at Clermont.

Cotter and Schmidt's appointments mean that there are three New Zealanders in charge of Six Nations teams, Warren Gatland being head coach of Wales.

"I am looking forward to this new challenge," said Cotter.

"I'll be coaching at the highest level, coaching a team that has got great talent, that has done really well in this year's Six Nations.

"We'll be working towards the World Cup in 2015 with a great management team. It's very exciting."

AFP

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