Six Nations

Cotter relieved as Scotland's Six Nations winless run ends

Vern Cotter expressed his relief as Scotland ended their winless Six Nations run by beating Italy 36-20 in Rome, but warned there is plenty of room for improvement.

Scotland had lost their last nine matches in the championship, but captain Greig Laidlaw contributed 21 points with the boot, while John Barclay, John Hardie and Tommy Seymour all scored tries as Cotter earned a first Six Nations win as coach.

The New Zealander feels his team have been showing signs of improvement and is delighted Scotland's hard work reaped the rewards.

"It's a bit of a relief really [to get the win]," he said. "The team has been improving and I think we can probably still improve in a few areas as well. 

"We won't sit back and say that's the finished article because it's not. We gutsed out a win and it was important as it was away from home. So, [we'll keep our] feet on the ground.

"I'm really happy for the players, they put on a good day's work out there and got the win, so there's a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere in the changing room I think."

Italy threatened a comeback as Leonardo Ghiraldini scored before the break and Marco Fuser's first international try in the second half brought the hosts within six points.

Fuser's touchdown came after Scotland's Finn Russell was sent to the sin bin and Cotter admits the fly-half's yellow card was a cause for concern.

"I'd be lying if I said no [the yellow card did not worry me]," he added. 

"But the guys have good team spirit, they stuck together and battled hard in defence with numbers down, they worked for each other and I'm pleased they get the reward for a lot of hard work.

"Hopefully we can enjoy this evening and kick on for the next game against France."