Bunnygate ... bizarre by Cotter

  • http://m.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11689016Coach 'ordered' team to kill rabbits
    Sunday, 07 August 2016
    The New Zealand HeraldSHARE:FacebookTwitterGoogle+Email
    Photo / NZME
    Scotland's national rugby team has found itself at the centre of an extraordinary animal rights row after claims players were ordered to kill rabbits with their bare hands.
    Shocking details of the bizarre training exercise organised by head coach Vern Cotter came to light yesterday after a former player spoke out.
    Retired Scotland forward Jim Hamilton, who attended the camp in France last June ahead of the Rugby World Cup, revealed players were told to batter the animals to death to "toughen them up".
    He claims Cotter, who was dressed in 'full outdoor hunter gear', picked on teammate Richie Gray - the 6ft 10in Scotland lock - who asked not to take part in the slaughter.
    Animal rights campaigners hit out at the 'cruelty' last night and called on rugby bosses to justify what the violent act had to do with sporting success.
    Elisa Allen, UK director of charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said: "Turning rugby players into killers won't improve their game, and to call it 'unsporting' is an understatement.
    "Crushing the skulls of rabbits and slitting their throats are terrifying and agonising ways to kill these sensitive, intelligent animals, and such violent acts may be illegal in France, where this cruelty allegedly occurred.
    Vern Cotter, the Scotland head coach looks on during the RBS Six Nations. Photo / Getty Images
    Vern Cotter, the Scotland head coach looks on during the RBS Six Nations. Photo / Getty Images
    "PETA is calling on authorities to investigate and also asking the rugby league to take immediate action to put a stop to any further 'training' with animals'."
    Hamilton, who had 63 caps for Scotland and still plays professionally for the London Saracens, told how the squad were marched into the Pyrenees as part of a commando-style training exercise with the French Marines.
    Speaking on the popular Rugby Pod podcast last week, Hamilton recalled: "Vern [Cotter] was sitting there in full outdoor hunter gear - big jumper, walking boots and he's got a knife.
    "He said: "right lads, we've got four hours, we're cooking this for dinner, who doesn't want to kill the rabbits?"
    "Richie Gray puts his hand up, along with Ross Ford, Stuart Hogg and another guy. Vern then old them: "right, you four are killing the rabbits!"
    "An army guy at the camp pulled out this bunny rabbit - it's not even a wild rabbit - and says: "this is how you need to kill it."
    "He's swinging this rabbit round with one hand, then next thing he slams it on the floor.
    "I'm not joking, the thing's eyes popped out of its head, then he cuts his throat.
    "So the boys had to go and kill the other three. Richie is spinning this thing round and he's saying that he can't slam it, and Vern shouts: "f***ing kill it!"
    "Richie does it, but it's not dead, it's shaking like mad and there's blood everywhere, and he's slamming it over the head with a stick.
    "Needless to say, the rabbits didn't taste that succulent - they were a bit tough. But that's all we had for food, with 35 baguettes."
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    The rabbit incident came as the Scotland squad arrived at their pre-tournament training base at Font Romeu in the Pyrenees.
    Hamilton - who wasn't picked by Cotter for the international competition in England added: "Vern said: 'lads, before you go, this is about toughening bloody up - let's see who wants it'."
    "We were told we had to walk for six or seven hours, up to a check point in the mountain.
    "No sleeping bags, no tents, no kit - there are 40 big rugby players sat around the campfire, and literally we are freezing all night long.
    Late last night Hamilton appeared to backtrack from some of his comments, tweeting that the French survival camp at Font Romeu was 'v educational' and that his account of the rabbit deaths had been 'exaggerated'.
    The controversial 'team-building' exercise has echoes of the infamous Camp Steel Wire endured by the South African national rugby team ahead of the 2003 World Cup - where players were reportedly made to strip naked at gunpoint and pump up rugby balls in a freezing lake.
    The team were said to have been woken every 15 minutes by gunfire while sleeping outdoors and told to climb into a hole, where recordings of the English national anthem and New Zealand's Haka, or war-chant, were played.
    Scottish Rugby refused to comment when approached by the Scottish Mail on Sunday last night. However a Murrayfield insider admitted rabbits had been killed by the players at the camp.
    The source said: "This was a well organised, well-resourced team-building exercise led by the Marines, where the guys where shown how to survive.
    "They were shown, as a survival technique, how to kill rabbits and some took part. It was done properly and humanely and no-one was forced to do it. Vern Cotter did not order any players to do this.
    "Unfortunately, some of what Jim Hamilton has talked about on the podcast has been exaggerated."

    Scotland's Staaldrad?
    Possibly "exaggerated" but still an odd story.

  • Years ago the hurricanes had a training camp at the farm across the valley from my parents. They had to run uphill and do all sorts of mundane shit as well as beheading a chicken at the poultry farm down the road.

  • 'fucking kill it' is a totally appropriate thing to yell at a 6'10" pussy who is unnecessarily causing a poor little delicious bunny rabbit pain, cotter should be being commended by the animal rights people.

  • Started reading the article think it's a bit strange to get them all in a room to just myrder bunnies. Then got to the bit where it was a team building/survival type camp and tgats what was for dinner. FFS what a non story written for people who think meat is just something that comes wrapped in plastic from the supermarket.
    You could write a similar story about players being degraded by being forced to crawl through mud while having someone yell at them.

  • Pffft, as if the Scots of all teams need "toughening up"

  • Years ago the hurricanes had a training camp at the farm across the valley from my parents. They had to run uphill and do all sorts of mundane shit as well as beheading a chicken at the poultry farm down the road.
    I don't want to break any confidences but I believe this chicken beheading ritual was also a big thing under Pat Lam at the Blues too. I have it on good authority he had the players doing much the same thing, and recorded it on video camera. The results would then be analyzed and formed the basis of their defensive pattern that season.

  • Cotter is being pushed out of Scotland coaching job to make way for Gregor Townsend.
    Gregor Townsend is to replace Vern Cotter as Scotland head coach in June 2017, Scottish Rugby has announced.
    Glasgow Warriors head coach Townsend, 43, previously worked with Scotland as part of Andy Robinson's backroom staff.
    The former Scotland fly-half, who won 82 caps - plus two for the Lions - led Warriors to the Pro12 title in 2015.

    "I am incredibly proud. It is a real honour to be given the responsibility of coaching the national team," said Townsend.
    "My focus is firmly on the season ahead with Glasgow and I will be doing all I can to help the club continue to progress this year
    New Zealander Cotter, 54, has been in charge of the Scots since 2014 and led them to the World Cup quarter-finals last year.
    Shortly before that tournament, the former Clermont Auvergne head coach had extended his contract until 2017.Scotland lost all five Tests in his first Six Nations but they improved this year with wins over Italy and France, scoring a best-ever 11 tries in a single campaign.
    "I believe we have moved forward by working to execute the simple things well," said Cotter, who has now coached in Europe for a decade after an eight-year spell in France with Clermont Auvergne.
    "The focus has been to respect tradition but also perform in the present, be adaptive and innovative. I have been really pleased with the progress that has been made."
    Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson thanked Cotter for his "considerable impact" but said the time was right to promote "one of the most sought after coaches in the game", two years out from the next World Cup in 2019.
    "The time is right to take the development of the national team forward with Gregor," said Dodson.
    "Gregor's playing record showed he is a man of vision and great professionalism, which he has since successfully transferred into his coaching roles.
    "It is these factors which I feel will enable Scotland to continue its forward momentum, building on the strong foundations laid by Vern, with the current group of players and future Scotland internationals."

  • Interesting - I wonder whether he'd consider an assistant/mentoring role with Razor at the Crusaders.

  • There are calls for Cotter to quit before next June:
    And he is being linked back to a move to NZ with the Chiefs or the Highlanders:

  • There are calls for Cotter to quit before next June:
    And he is being linked back to a move to NZ with the Chiefs or the Highlanders:
     http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/super-rugby/83367181/vern-cotter-ideal-candidate-to-return-home-for-kiwi-super-rugby-jobPlenty of bunnies in Otago ;)

  • Vern to the Chiefs then

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