BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Vern Cotter has appointed ‘collision king’ Richie Gray as Defensive Contact Specialist for Scotland’s Six Nations campaign.
Gray joins Cotter’s backroom staff after a three-season spell as South Africa’s Specialist Breakdown Coach, culminating in their bronze-medal finish at last year’s Rugby World Cup in England.
The former Gala coach previously spent 12 years with the SRU in various roles, including coach to Scotland’s age-grade sides and the South of Scotland, as well as development manager and academy manager.
He has earned a global reputation, however, after launching in 2011 the ‘Collision King’, a machine designed to allow players to practise correct body position and technique at the breakdown area.
Gray has been drafted in to assist the Scotland squad in the area of the defensive breakdown and has joined the squad at their St Andrews training camp.
He said: “It’s a great honour to coach any country but to be offered the opportunity to coach your own is something special indeed.
“The defensive breakdown is an area highlighted by the coaches as an area for improvement, for which I’ve been given a very specific brief to work alongside Defence Coach Matt Taylor for the seven-week period of the RBS 6 Nations.
“It’s a great honour and I’m looking forward to joining up with the squad in camp in St Andrews this Sunday.”
Although the addition of ‘Kilted Kiwi’ John Hardie has helped the Scots improve at the breakdown in recent times, improvements are still essential if they want to compete in this year’s championship.
Cotter added: “On behalf of the national team I’d like to welcome Richie to our coaching set-up for the 2016 RBS 6 Nations.
“We’re looking forward to adding his experience and passion to the group.”