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New coach hits all the right notes

Scotland players have been advised to get in tune before the arrival of their new head coach Grant Bradburn, writes David Kelso.

The advice came less than 24 hours after the New Zealander, who will join up with Scotland in early July, was announced as the surprise replacement for Pete Steindl in the build up to next year's World Cup.

Neil Gray, once a long-serving Ayr player who is now a leading coach in Australia, has revealed that one of Bradburn's morale-boosting ploys is to lead guitar-accompanied singing sessions in the changing room immediately after matches.

"When I heard that Grant had got the Scotland job, I was as surprised as anyone," said Gray. "However, he was well respected during his time in charge of Northern Districts in the Provincial Championship in New Zealand and they had a lot of success there. He left them because he felt he had gone as far as he could with them. He drifted around for a while then was made coach of the New Zealand A squad, but I always felt it was a stop-gap ­situation.

"He is a quiet kind of a guy who will not shock anyone with brutal speeches. If anything, he is very laid back and the Scotland lads might like to know that, when he went to Northern Districts, he introduced a musical tone to the dressing room. He enlisted his assistant to play the guitar while the team let rip.

"He was well respected through all age groups and genders at ­Hamilton and the other venues, though. I think overall he will be good in terms of motivation but he could be aiming to use the Scotland job as a stepping stone back to something bigger back home.

"He reached the top in domestic cricket [in New Zealand] but nobody wanted him for anything beyond that. I think he is hoping he goes well in the World Cup and can then look to move back to a Blackcaps role or another national team."

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