Rugby Union

Scotland announce plans to host Autumn Tests

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Scotland have chosen the perfect preparation to begin a new year after a disappointing 2014, as now Vern Cotter's side will host an Autumn series in November against three big rivals all competing in next years' World Cup.

Scotland will take on both Argentina and New Zealand at BT Murrayfield as part of the series before Cotter's men feature in a historic match against Tonga at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock, which will be the first match featuring a Tier One nation to be played on an artificial pitch.

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Scotland vs. Tonga

After the year Scotland have had, having finished fifth in the Six Nations collecting only one win against Italy, the small nation will have to develop as a team over these three games but at the moment their main focus has been drawn towards rivals Tonga.

Cotter spoke to the Scottish Rugby website and stated that their defeat to Tonga still hurts, considering it was two years ago, and it is about revenging their honour in front of their home fans.

"Players and management are looking forward to the Autumn Tests when we’ll face Argentina and New Zealand at BT Murrayfield and Tonga at Kilmarnock," Cotter said.

"We last faced Tonga at Pittodrie in 2012 and that result still hurts! The Rugby Park surface is immaculate and it’s always good to take the game to parts of the country where supporters haven’t always had the chance to see an international match on their own doorstep."

Rugby Park

3G pitches are a growing trend in rugby, especially in the Aviva Premiership as teams like Saracens and Newcastle Falcons have both made the switch.

But for an international fixture it may have no positive effect for either country, unless some of the World Cup games for next year are scheduled to be played at Allianz Park.

With this outcome a possibility it could be a very smart move made by Vern Cotter and Scotland; understanding the best methods of play on this new surface and taking a strong mind-set into the 2015 World Cup.

Autumn Series

But Scotland have been facing a difficult year and at this point the series could work in favour of the opposition, for it couldn't be a better time for all three of these Southern Hemisphere and Pacific nations to take on Scotland in the cold, wet weather and getting use to the conditions.

But the factor in Cotter's team is how low confidence is, and three back-to-back defeats against very strong nations could damage moral more so and leave the squad doubtful heading into the Six Nations in February.

It is a good decision to get these three nations to travel to Scotland, and for the Scottish to dig their teeth into a challenging series, but the long term effect could be costly especially with what 2015 holds.

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