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Scotland squad in France preparing for Rugby World Cup

Vern Cotter Scotland
Image: Vern Cotter: Has taken Scotland to France for altitude training

Scotland coach Vern Cotter has taken his Scotland squad to train at altitude as he cranks up preparations for the 2015 World Cup.

The Scots suffered a disastrous first Six Nations campaign under Cotter, the New Zealander who relocated to Edinburgh from Top 14 club Clermont.

They lost all their five games, to France (15-6), Wales (26-23), Italy (22-19), England (25-13) and Ireland (40-10), to end up with the ignominy of the wooden spoon.

Scotland have been drawn in Pool B with South Africa, Samoa, Japan and the United States, and Cotter said he was happy with four warm-up games before coming up against what promises to be a physical group.

"We have four matches before the World Cup starts," he said. "We have a 46-man squad, so we'll play three matches: Ireland and Italy twice.

"After that we'll announce the 31-man squad for the World Cup and then have a match against France at Stade de France, and then we're pretty much straight into the tournament itself."

The eight-day camp will be based on physical training. We'll mix the sports so we do a bit of judo, boxing, wrestling and also work a bit on individual technique
Vern Cotter

Kiwi Cotter chose Font-Romeu in the Pyrenees, a renowned training base for athletes seeking a high-altitude boost, after a talking to one of his former Clermont players.

"I think it was decided after a chat with Julien Bonnaire, who was here for France's preparations for the 2007 World Cup and found it really great," the Kiwi said. 

"The eight-day camp will be based on physical training. We'll mix the sports so we do a bit of judo, boxing, wrestling and also work a bit on individual technique.

"It's more about taking the players out of their comfort zone. We'll try to put them in some tough conditions and work them hard.

"They've got virtually four sessions a day, varying between weight training, speed work, technical training, circuit training and the other sports."

Cotter will trim his World Cup squad from 46 to 31 on the August 31 deadline with the tournament starting in England the following month.

He added: "The idea is to challenge the squad at 1,800m of altitude. Everything's here to work well. This place was chosen to kick off our World Cup campaign."

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