Scotland were left ruing the missed opportunity to spring the biggest upset of the year as New Zealand held things together to survive a scare and win 24-16 at Murrayfield on Saturday. A late try from lock Jeremy Thrush put the home side out of contention.
It wasn’t the best All Blacks XV on show but Scotland, wearing their alternate strip, took it to the world champions and were in the game right up until the last five minutes, when the experience and power of the visitors took effect.
Scotland had never beaten New Zealand, so they’ll feel that this was one that got away, while the All Blacks might reconsider fielding such an experimental side in future.
Scotland’s Kiwi coach Vern Cotter was pleased with the character his side showed.
“If you look at our defence, I thought our defence was excellent. A few players really put their hands up and led the team, everybody contributed. I think we can get confidence in the way we vary our play. We can attack, we can kick, we can use short side, we can use space in the back…
“One thing you can be sure of, is that there’s character in there. And that’s very important,” he said.
Steve Hansen was impressed, saying that Scotland could be a Six Nations dark horse.
“I think Scotland are a very good side on the way up. I really do mean that sincerely. I think by the time the Six Nations comes around they will be right in it,” Hansen said.
Scotland suffered a number of injuries in the physical clash, with some players completing the game but requiring further care from the medical team.
They include, Alasdair Dickinson (lower leg), Alex Dunbar (ankle), Adam Ashe, Blair Cowan (both neck strain), Richie Gray, Ross Ford (both shoulder), Tommy Seymour, Greig Laidlaw (both hand) and Euan Murray (groin). Mark Bennett (hamstring) will return to his club.
View extended match highlights below, including post match interviews with Stuart Hogg and intercept try scorer Tommy Seymour. On the next page you can view the Scottish press conference with coach Cotter and skipper Greig Laidlaw.
Credit: Scottish Rugby TV