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Phil Harlow

Murrayfield mis-match is grey occasion (95)

Murrayfield, Sunday - Don’t you just love the World Cup? The best teams in the world, going hell for leather for victory, the underdog taking it to the favourites and all in front of a backdrop of fervent fans going blinking bananas.

That’s the theory at any rate. Scotland B’s 40-0 hammering by New Zealand certainly didn’t live up to that ideal, or even come close to it.

Let’s remind ourselves that, on paper, this was a match-up in the sport’s highest-profile tournament between two unbeaten sides, in front of a passionate home crowd and with the winner putting themselves into the knock-out stages. It’s what the World Cup should be all about.

But the decision of Scotland coach Frank Hadden to select – whatever his protests to the contrary – a largely second-string side, coupled with the All Blacks’ inability to get out of second gear, meant this was one World Cup game that failed to sparkle.

In the cold light of day, Hadden’s decision was entirely understandable given the situation his side faces in the battle to reach the quarter-finals.

A win against an eminently beatable Italy on Saturday and Scotland will maintain their record of always reaching the knock-out stages.

Don’t get me wrong, Scotland’s players certainly didn’t disgrace themselves and no player in blue came off the field having given anything less than his all.

But the result was a foregone conclusion, with only the margin of victory up for debate.

Whether it was the Murrayfield tannoy announcements in French (perhaps someone could explain the logic of that to me?) or the unappealing aluminium grey of the All Blacks’ change kit, something just wasn’t right in Edinburgh.

New Zealand's Ali Williams among the Scotland pack

With New Zealand cruising into a comfortable lead inside 20 minutes, without ever looking close to finding their fluent best, the atmosphere inside the stadium took on a curious slant.

Mexican waves – the tell-tale sign of a mediocre match - broke out well before the first half was over.

For large parts of the game, the most noticeable sound inside the stadium was that of the semi-interested chatter of spectators, far from enthralled by the toiling efforts on the pitch.

The players could have been an acoustic singer-songwriter going down badly in a support slot for stadium rockers Bon Jovi for all the enthusiasm shown.

Sporadic chants of “Scotland” emerged from the crowd on the rare occasions the temperature on the pitch raised above tepid, while the Kiwi fans realised it was hardly worth the effort of crowing about their side’s casual domination.

New Zealand scored some decent tries, while Scotland tackled for all they were worth but it will go down as one of the most tedious matches of the tournament.

Scotland now have no room for error – and no excuses – when they take on Italy and, for the sake of all the home fans who shelled out for the Murrayfield encounter, they had better get it right in St Etienne.

Phil Harlow is a BBC Sport journalist based in London.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 10:42 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tim Reid wrote:

Very well said sir. The rugby is more important than the tournament! Scotland should embrace any opportunity of playing the 'best team in the world', who, while obviously winning comfortably, weren't mind-blowingly good yesterday. What a shame. If we'd played the same line-up that faced Romania it could have been a classic.

  • 2.
  • At 11:09 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • R Webster wrote:

I've just read a load of complaints like this on another thread.

Sure, it's not good for the world cup when a side clearly throws in the towel like this. But the blame for it seems to be all in the wrong place. Let me ask the blog owner, and all those attacking Hadden on this - if you seriously were the Scotland coach, charged with getting the team to the QF's, and knowing the recovery time needed from a high impact game like this one, what would you have done? And to answer that, think of it as a question arising when it is your real job, income and reputation at stake, not from the safe confines of the armchair.

The fault in this to me is the scheduling. There just should not be an uneven number of teams in a group section. That way there will always be one team resting and coming in fresh for the next set of fixtures, and this will affect team selection at some point. With an even number of teams in the groups you can always schedule so that all sides are playing on any given day, and no advantage is gained.

Hadden, though, was given a scheduling nightmare - what everyone knows was his crunch game coming 6 days after playing the toughest team in the world, while his coming opponents have already had 5 days rest and training.

  • 3.
  • At 11:10 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

I was at the game and I think you've summed up the occasion and atmosphere very nicely.

Scotland's players gave it everything in defence but lacked any class or penetration to hurt the All Blacks and get them on the backfoot. I don't think we even got into their 22 in the second half.

But for Scotland it was and is all about beating Italy. Hadden's reputation rests on victory in St. Etienne.

I very much feel that Scotland owe the fans a victory against Italy and a big performance in the QF for letting us down in fielding a weakend team. C'mon Scotland!

  • 4.
  • At 11:16 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Leslie Silverlock wrote:

Who decided it was Ok to waste the Princess Royal's and my Sunday afternoon's watching 30 hulks wearing the same coloured, insipid underwear. All black would have been more fun.

  • 5.
  • At 11:25 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

I was in the stadium, and you couldn't have summed it up better. The French announcements and French TV ads on the big screen at half time just didn't seem necessary. Only saw one person stand up when the French announcer said to rise for the national anthems...but the whole crowd did when the English announcement was made.
I was very surprised by the chants of "Scotland, Scotland" seeing as I saw very few Scottish shirts on the way to the match, vastly outnumbered by the familiar black jerseys that were absent from the pitch - who thought that a team wearing blue and grey should play aginst a team in grey and blue?!

As for the match....numerous handling errors meant I heard more laughing than cheering, and a few decisions for NZ to go for the easy 3 points (which I believe was missed twice?) rather than a pretty easy 7 points did the match no favours. The decision to head to the airport before the full time whistle was not regretted!

  • 6.
  • At 11:35 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • matthew preston wrote:

I can see the argument for resting an entire team to protect the 1st team from injury, but what does it do for moral to throw in the towel against a great side before a ball has been kicked? If I was a paying customer I would have asked for at least half of my money back as that was all my team was prepared to offer me on the field. If Scotland get beaten by Italy they can have no complaints as they lost momentum and that winning habit by fielding a B team against the Kiwis. Can't imagine the Scottish football team doing that at a World Cup.

  • 7.
  • At 12:29 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • rick wrote:

I think Haddon was dead right but its not something i want to see repeated. We have a make or break against Italy in 6 days and need a fit and fresh side to win that match. Blame should be placed with those who set the schedules and ticket prices not Haddon and the SRU.

Italy have 11 days to prepare for Scotland so they will be ready, so must we.

It takes me at least 3 days to recover from a club game, so Haddon has my full support.

  • 8.
  • At 12:46 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Dominic wrote:

I suspect that the All Blacks didn't see the point in doing anything more than they did. I suspect 1st gear is more appropriate.
If it had been a more even contest the Referee may have savaged the Scottish ranks and sent most of their pack off one by one for collapsing the scrum.
If Scotland don't beat Italy there will be major egg-on face for Frank Hadden - even if they do beat Italy a lot of people will be angry i suspect at having paid to be at the ground - this may do more damage to Scottish rugbty than their current club/financial issues.

  • 9.
  • At 12:55 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Fergus Gordon wrote:

Not seen a lot of comment on the kit being worn. I watched on television and there were times when I wan't sure which side was which (the team scoring was easy). It can't have been easy for the referee to sort out in the middle of a melee. Is this an example of kit providers marketing over sense. Even if one of the sides had white shorts it would have been ok.

  • 10.
  • At 12:57 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Jack Healy wrote:

Originally I was enraged by the decision to field a B team. However that rage abated to be replaced by my disgust of the Scotland strip! Whoever designed and decided to put the team out against the All Blacks in that truly awful kit should be shot. Power Rangers, comic cartoon super heroes! What is with all the grey and white patches? Let us please return to the simple honesty of an all blue shirt. The result today was a confusing visual spectacle. Shame on all involved.

Dr Jack

  • 11.
  • At 01:05 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Personally I find the Scottish approach to this game unbelievable.

To effectively wave a white flag before the game even kicked off is disgraceful - and for Kenny Logan to state on TV that this is 'a game we have no chance of winning' - why then are Scotland in the RWC - to progress further, to win the tournament you have to go up against the best, play your best and deal with the hand that lady luck deals you on the day.

Surely in hindsight, given the amount of mistakes that the NZ team made, a full strength squad may actually have made a game of yesterday's encounter.

And how many supporters paid top money to see their side take on one of the best teams in the world - they paid to watch a game of rugby, they paid to watch both sides compete - not to watch one side who had given up before they even arrived.

There doesn't seem much point in trying to secure passage to the QF stage if you don't think you have the ability to beat any team on a given day - go home now and let a team who have the guts and the passion to play decent rugby have a go

  • 12.
  • At 01:10 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • terry balfour wrote:

Just want to agree with the comments on the kits worn by Scotland & NZ. They were awful and the colour clash was obvious. Must have been very difficult for the crowd to distinguish the teams from a distance. Don't know if anyone agrees but I think the kits in general ahve been shocking in design (esp. England, France Australia) Whats wrong with traditional style kits? Can't see many kids rushing out to JJB's to buy these shirts.

  • 13.
  • At 01:13 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Spencer wrote:

Kit design is one area where the lunatics really do seem to have taken over. It seems that marketability is a larger concern than practicality and worst of all tradition. Why are big tough men playing in kits designed by how you say, metrosexuals? Even football kits aren’t as bent as those on display this year.

The Scottish kit looks like it was designed by someone that has watched too much power rangers. Is that supposed to be fake armour? The English kit looks like it’s designed by someone from IKEA. The grey Welsh away kit wouldn’t look out of place in a fetish club (not that I er.. you know… probably). The New Zealand away kit is simply rubbish and should never be worn under any circumstances. You’d expect the Italians to wear something stupid but their kit looks quite reasonable by comparison.

From the RFU website

“The new kit is strikingly different, incorporating an asymmetric sash at a diagonal running across the front of the jersey and shorts creating a unique version of the St. George’s Cross”

What a load of nonsense. How about white, with a red rose on it? How about the Scots play in blue with a Saltire on it? The Welsh in Red, The Irish in green etc. etc..

Whoever decided that the kits were acceptable yesterday should simply lose their job. It was impossible to watch, I imagine difficult to ref and ultimately stupid.

  • 14.
  • At 01:21 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

I think I speak for most ardent supporters, in that they would not have agreed to pay the outlandish prices asked, had they expected to view a second string Scotland play the All Blacks.

  • 15.
  • At 01:32 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Sian Wheal wrote:

How is it possible that the teams were allowed to wear such similar colours? Surely it made it far harder to referee the game? It certainly made watching nigh on impossible.

  • 16.
  • At 01:39 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • R Webster wrote:

"Can't imagine the Scottish football team doing that at a World Cup."

Football is nowhere near the sort of contact game that rugby is. Six days would be more than enough to recover from one football match to be ready to play for another - but in union after a match against a physical side like the All Blacks it is the bare minimum. It is likely that a large number of those who played yesterday would not be 100% match ready by next weekend - and in what could be a tight fixture where the smallest of margins or sharpness decides it that could be crucial.

Comparing to football surely implies you have not played rugby, and don't therefore realise why Hadden had to make this call.

  • 17.
  • At 01:45 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Jamie wrote:

Having paid £300 for two tickets to watch a match advertised as Scotland vs New Zealand I was extremely dissapointed to find that it was to be nothing of the sort.

The Scottish team management decided that it was not worth their effort to contest a match in a competitive tournament at home in front of their own fans. This is an insult to the fans who have had their loyalty repayed with a total lack of respect; we did not go to Murrayfield to watch the All Blacks.

Rugby is a spectator sport, the World Cup is a competition and should be about competing and entertaining; come the end of the tournament there will only be one winner but every team should at least have the pride to compete throughout.

  • 18.
  • At 01:56 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Scotland in the semis? wrote:

Team kits were a farce.

(Genuinely) congratulations to the referee for managing to police breakdowns at all - it looked from where I was sitting to be a single mass of grey limbs.

The scoreline (mercifully) reflects that on several occasions, AB players seemed to hold back from off-loading in contact because they couldn't tell the supporting runners from Scottish defenders!

A real disappointment for a game between the likely fourth placed team (bizzarely probable now thanks to O'Sullivan & La Porte's collective ineptitude) and the tournament winners (inevitable, unless they all get food poisoning again).

(As an aside, good to see that the only empty spots at Murrayfield were the stupidly expensive £150 seats. Well done the IRB. Judged the market very well as always!)

  • 19.
  • At 02:00 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Scotland in the semis? wrote:

Team kits were a farce.

(Genuinely) congratulations to the referee for managing to police breakdowns at all - it looked from where I was sitting to be a single mass of grey limbs.

The scoreline (mercifully) reflects that on several occasions, AB players seemed to hold back from off-loading in contact because they couldn't tell the supporting runners from Scottish defenders!

A real disappointment for a game between the likely fourth placed team (bizzarely probable now thanks to O'Sullivan & La Porte's collective ineptitude) and the tournament winners (inevitable, unless they all get food poisoning again).

(As an aside, good to see that the only empty spots at Murrayfield were the stupidly expensive £150 seats. Well done the IRB. Judged the market very well as always!)

  • 20.
  • At 02:02 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • DP wrote:

What a disappointing day for Scottish rugby and the World Cup in general.

All the right ingredients for a fabulous occasion spoilt by arrogance and self rightousness of a coach and organisers.

As one of the travelling NZ supporters, to pay over the top prices for what was a dud before it started, then having to listen to the nonsense French announcements, try and pick the players with absurdly matching kit, was just let down after let down.

As a previous supporter of Scottish rugby, I wanted to see 'Scotland the Brave', not 'Scotland B'.

Ask the top Scotland players if they wanted to be sitting there in their suits.

Come on Italy!

  • 21.
  • At 02:03 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Grassy Troll wrote:

I agree with the comments from the majority above.
This game really calls the substance of the RWC into question. A match between two of the 'bigger' sides during the pool phase ought to have been one of the highlights.
I'm astonished that Murrayfield was so full (remember'99 when we played to derisory crowds?) and I feel for no.5 and his compatriots when he has clearly spent a lot of cash to watch this farce.
Scotland seem fixated by reaching the quarter finals. Of course we'd all like that - but I'd rather they did it in style and by having a go.
We clearly still have the mentality that we simply can't compete with the top sides. Well we certainly won't if we continue to approach games in the manner we saw this weekend.
There is the prospect of us getting to the semi finals. If we do wouldn't it have been good to have the memory of a closer contest with NZ to draw on rather than the feeling that we have simply suffered an inevitable drubbing!
It's up to the side now to restore some pride and deliver better performances.
I think they can do this if they keep better ball retention - lots of unforced errors in ball handling in all 3 games so far. So c'mon Scotland, or as they say at Murrayfield these days, 'Vive l'Ecosse'!!

  • 22.
  • At 02:07 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • D Matthews wrote:

I expected a real passionate match with teams giving 110%. The lack of our best team was disappointing.
Had this been advertised and tickets priced as a "showcase" event fair enough.
I think RWC and SRU raised expectation of a great encounter and fell short on delivery.

  • 23.
  • At 02:14 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • fluffer wrote:

I am suprised so many people didn't see this coming.

Firstly, most of the Scottish rugby fraternity didn't bother going to Murrayfield in protest at the ticket prices.
Secondly, it was pretty obvious Hadden had to play his B team when the draw was made and alluded to this months ago.

There are usually bus loads of supporters from my club who come through from Glasgow. I honestly don't know of anyone who went yesterday.
Unfortunately, the organisers will not take notice as they managed to fill the ground.

The structure of the tournament has to be changed. RWC should be about the best taking on the best.

  • 24.
  • At 02:15 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Jamie wrote:

Having paid £300 for two tickets to watch a match advertised as Scotland vs New Zealand I was extremely dissapointed to find that it was to be nothing of the sort. The Scottish team management decided that it was not worth their effort to contest a match in a competitive tournament at home in front of their own fans. This is an insult to the fans who have had their loyalty repayed with a total lack of respect; we did not go to Murrayfield to watch the All Blacks.

Rugby is a spectator sport, the World Cup is a competition and should be about competing and entertaining; come the end of the tournament there will only be one winner but every team should at least have the pride to compete.

  • 25.
  • At 02:22 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Andy L wrote:

The IRB just don't get colour clashes, if shirts,shorts or socks are the same they should change. They both had dark shorts and socks, just changing the shirts isn't enough. When England played Wales in the warm up , they both had white shorts and socks, What's going on, sort it out please? For the World Cup maybe they should have one team in a dark strip, the other in a white/light strip; so France v Ireland would have France in blue and Ireland in white, Simple...

  • 26.
  • At 02:47 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • barney wrote:

Rugby is all about ranking (contrary to football, where
a team such as Scotland could win Brazil or Argentina).
Statistics says that one team has hope to beat a higher
ranking team if the latter is not leadingby more than 7-10 ranking points. That is, Scotland A would never beat the ABs, who are 20 points ahead. Only AUS and SA and, verymarginally, ENG and FRA, may have a chance.
So, I believe Scotland coach made a clever choice.

  • 27.
  • At 02:50 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • George wrote:

Steve Hansen was ripped to shreds before Wales played New Zealand in the 2003 tournament by saving several of his first choice players and picking a weaker team.

Gareth Thomas even came on as full back in the first 5 minutes following an injury to Garan Evans. With an out of position winger at 15 and the forgotten Shane Williams on the left wing we were on a hiding to nothing.... then it happened.

That same group of men created the baedrock of the 2005 Grand Slam, i don't think any less of Frank Hadden, good luck against Italy. But do be more careful with your shirts in future!!

  • 28.
  • At 03:12 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Piebaps wrote:

The SRU is on its ar*e. They have just lost a region, the big name players are all moving away, they can't fill a stadium even for big games and the regional sides are continually underperforming in the H Cup.

What happens then when you have a top of pool clash against arguably the biggest draw in international rugby? The coach plays his second team!

I fully accept the reason why Frank did what he did.........but you have to ask whether or not he is really seeing the bigger picture for Scottish Rugby.

A proper game may have generated a little more national interest and passion and wouldn't have left the supporters that did turn up feeling cheated! This home game was an opportunity to see their lads take on the best in a meaningful game. Instead they got to see a game that was only memorable for the farcical colour clash.

  • 29.
  • At 03:15 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Ed wrote:

People who say this was a "2nd team" can't have been following Scottish rugby very closely recently.

Cusiter, Henderson, Di Rollo, Southwell and Paterson have all been regular starters over the past two seasons. Up front, Scott Murray is the most experienced player in the squad; Callam and Brown were stand-outs in the 6N; Lawson and Smith are as good as any of the other front-row options; Barclay and Dickinson, the debutants, turned out to be two of Scotland's better players.

If this is the 2nd string, who's in the 1st? What changes would you make? White and Taylor probably, maybe either Hamilton or Hines at Lock instead of McLeod, and S Lamont instead of Walker. But beyond that every other position is a matter for debate. Blair instead of Cusiter? Dewey instead of Henderson? R Lamont instead of Southwell?

People keep talking about Scotland having two games in 6 days, but in fact it is really 3 games in 11 days. Many of those who started against Romania (particularly the forwards) would not have been in a proper condition to face NZ, let alone start again against Italy a few days later. So Hadden rotated his squad, as he is entitled to do, as EVERY OTHER TEAM has done in this tournament when they have faced so many games in so few days. Yet for everyone else it has been a sensible or natural decision, but for Scotland it is "insulting to the fans", "cheapening the competition", "demeaning the opposition", even though you can see even at a quick glance that the quality of the XV that took the field against NZ is about the same as the XV who were on the bench or left out.

The "I paid £300 and am affronted" brigade are just jumping on the blame-the-selection bandwagon. If there is any reason to complain, it is not Hadden's selection but the fact that a team full of experienced internationals like Murray, Cusiter (both Lions by the way), Paterson, Henderson, Di Rollo, Southwell, Webster, etc, failed to put up more of a challenge.

If you're going to criticise, get the target right otherwise you'll be tinkering with the wrong thing and the problem will never get resolved.

  • 30.
  • At 03:17 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Ollie wrote:

Are Scotland now the first team in RWC history, or indeed rugby international history, to whitewash one team (Romania) only to go on and be themselves whitewashed (by NZ) in the very next game?

  • 31.
  • At 03:23 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Jonathan wrote:

Sign me up on the list of those who thinks the current range of rugby kits look ridiculous. Let's get back to the basics - the classic shirts of before. The Scottish shirt is probably the worst of a bad bunch (I couldn't bring myself to buy one under any circumstances).

Back to the rugby - I back Hadden's decision - I'd much rather reach the QFs and maybe even the SFs with a rested team. We were never going to beat NZ under any circumstances.

  • 32.
  • At 03:41 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • George wrote:

Steve Hansen was ripped to shreds before Wales played New Zealand in the 2003 tournament by saving several of his first choice players and picking a weaker team.

Gareth Thomas even came on as full back in the first 5 minutes following an injury to Garan Evans. With an out of position winger at 15 and the forgotten Shane Williams on the left wing we were on a hiding to nothing.... then it happened.

That same group of men created the baedrock of the 2005 Grand Slam, i don't think any less of Frank Hadden, good luck against Italy. But do be more careful with your shirts in future!!

  • 33.
  • At 03:46 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • gareth wrote:

what about the people watching on a black and white set.They do still exist.

  • 34.
  • At 04:04 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Martin Karim wrote:

The previous comments accurately reflect the occasion that was Murrayfield yesterday.

So disappointing to see a second string Scotland side taken apart by an All Blacks side with so many of their stars rested. Had New Zealand not made so many handling errors and missed so many kicks then the score would have been nearer the 100 mark.

It was such a contrast to Scotland’s previous encounter with an all star All Blacks team at Murrayfield nearly 2 years ago which was a fantastic occasion and Scotland made a real match of it.

I could not believe that in a World Cup, 2 teams were allowed to wear similar coloured strips; it certainly confused me as a spectator. Having spoken to people who started watching the game on TV, they simply changed channels to avoid the confusion; I wish I could have done the same. I will be very interested to hear what the Rugby World Cup organisers have to say about it.

  • 35.
  • At 04:12 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • John M wrote:

Mark @ 11 asks why Scotland are in the RWC, the answer to that is to progress as far in the tournament as they possibly can,not to privde match practice to the ABs, if you want to blame anyone blame whoever organised the games, funny how NZ didn't have to play Scotland and Italy back to back but Scotland have to play NZ and Italy back to back.
Piebaps @ 28 wonders if Hadden is seeing the big picture for Scottish Rugby, the answer to that has to yes, if we do not make the QFs we will drop down the seedings for the next world cup and could conceivably end up in a group with NZ and France which would therefore make it all the more difficult to qualify for the knock out stages in the future.

  • 36.
  • At 04:32 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Marti Karim wrote:

The previous comments accurately reflect the occasion that was Murrayfield yesterday.

So disappointing to see a second string Scotland side taken apart by an All Blacks side with so many of their stars rested. Had New Zealand not made so many handling errors and missed so many kicks then the score would have been nearer the 100 mark.

It was such a contrast to Scotland’s previous encounter with an all star All Blacks team at Murrayfield nearly 2 years ago which was a fantastic occasion and Scotland made a real match of it.

I could not believe that in a World Cup, 2 teams were allowed to wear similar coloured strips; it certainly confused me as a spectator. Having spoken to people who started watching the game on TV, they simply changed channels to avoid the confusion; I wish I could have done the same. I will be very interested to hear what the Rugby World Cup organisers have to say about it.

  • 37.
  • At 04:38 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • DK wrote:

Sorry it really annoys me when people go on about how bravely the Scots played, or how they didn't get humiliated.....

Correct me if I'm wrong, but they didn't manage a single point. Against a under performing All Blacks side. AT HOME!

You can go on about how brave they were in defence, but so what? Does that mean that they should all pat each other on the back? Of course it bloody doesn't.

Even PORTUGAL and ITALY managed to score tries against them!

Woeful All Blacks, embarrassingly awful Scotland.

  • 38.
  • At 04:42 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Matt.S wrote:

I think the colour of shirts was the least of Scotland's worries!! What i find unacceptable is how Scotland were able to play two pool games in Murrayfield. A distinct advantage, France 2007? An absolute joke!!

  • 39.
  • At 04:49 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • StumpyPete wrote:

I have gone to Murrayfield for virtually every Scotland full international for 15 years. I CHOSE not to go yesterday, as I did not think I would get value for money. The ticket prices (obscene!) matched with the scheduling of the tournament meant that it simply was not worth it. It was obvious from day 1 that Scotland would put out a second string team because the Italy game was the crucial one for them. Whoever planned this in France is a complete numpty.

  • 40.
  • At 05:07 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • heather wrote:

Whose idea was it to allow two teams to play in very nearly identical kits? It must have been a nightmare for the officials. On TV it was hard enough to tell who was whom from a distance, so what on earth people watching in the crowd must have made of it beats me. My daughter suggests that just like in chess, one side should wear all white and the other all black, then there would be no problems

  • 41.
  • At 06:17 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Sian Wheal wrote:

How is it possible that the teams were allowed to wear such similar colours? Surely it made it far harder to referee the game? It certainly made watching nigh on impossible.

  • 42.
  • At 06:26 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Scotland's decision to put out a B squad for a rugby world cup match against the AB was a disgrace. It's the world cup, the biggest tournament in rugby and Scotland throw in the towl before the start. I think a lot of people have missed the point though. The AB's underperformed yesterday and who knows what a full strength Scotland may have done. Even if they didn't win but had pushed the AB's hard the confidence going into the final match would have been great.

Now Scotland look to Italy and if Hadden and his team lose that one will they be looking back to last Sunday thinking "what if". The world cup is every four years, there's no time for what if's.

  • 43.
  • At 06:28 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Ian S wrote:

Well done Frank Hadden - this was a great call- the only sensible thing to do given the circumstances. Please will the whingers and death or glory merchants wisw up. Wait until we have beaten Italy and end up as the best northern hemisphere side (with the best coach)in this tournament by going on to the semi-finals! What a shot in the arm for Scotish rugby!

  • 44.
  • At 07:53 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Malcolm (Edinburgh) wrote:

Hang on a minute here for all those who claim Hadden got it wrong...

Scotland have NEVER beaten New Zealand - whether we have played at home in front of a massive home support, with kits that did not clash, in a monsoon of Scottish rain and with the best team available playing. So why, when we have to play against Italy in a match which will decide our RWC fate in less than a week, should we risk our star players?!

To those who say it was waving a white flag or whatever, is nonsense. Its about progressing Scotland as far as they can in the tournament. To do so, our coach has used his squad wisely. And if the team reach the promised land of the knock-out rounds, or a potential semi-final, who will remember the alleged "second string" which took to the field against the All Blacks?

  • 45.
  • At 08:13 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Funnily enough, Scotland are now the most likely of the NH to advance to the semis. Hadden was right not to commit his first XV in a game where the outcome was practically predetermined. Italy have performed terribly so far and are there for the taking. Argentina meanwhile will not relish the pressure of now being labelled favourites. Often happens that former underdogs rarely transform into comfortable favorites overnight.
Oh, and belated congratulations to the genius who allowed both teams out in those metro-kits yesterday, my compliments to your Labrador, sir.

  • 46.
  • At 08:48 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Markymark wrote:

Given the scheduling in the world cup I can fully appreciate Scotland's decision to field a below par team ahead of the crucial game against Italy, especially as Italywill have 9 days rest going into that game, and Scotland 5, I think it is. Running New Zealand close then losing to Italy would be pointless. I think the RFU need to look at the structure of the tournament in that regard.

  • 47.
  • At 09:09 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

Oh how easy it is to moan... and write negatively.What about a write up focusing on the positives.

The best team Scotland can drum up will be training all week and not bouncing back from - or out with injury from the Italy game.

It gave some others the chance to really stake their claim for a place, and also the team a chance to progress. Do you think the score would have been anything other than 40-0 with our A Team out?

The All Blacks came for the rough and tumble and decided to scrum again and again and turn it into a bruising challenge. Who says they underperformed? What about giving credit to the guys in blue taking that bruising on the chin? Great to see big hits going in from both teams. The ABs had moments of brilliance - passing, and also showed they are far from perfect,kicking.Could a stronger team have exploited this perhaps - but at what cost.

The crowd were on good form and I did not hear one gripe about the team selections.The Mexican wave always happens at some point - not because of a mediocre game.

Let's see what Saturday brings - I still think it was the right call.

  • 48.
  • At 09:25 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

Oh how easy it is to moan... and write negatively.What about a write up focusing on the positives.

The best team Scotland can drum up will be training all week and not bouncing back from - or out with injury from the Italy game.

It gave some others the chance to really stake their claim for a place, and also the team a chance to progress. Do you think the score would have been anything other than 40-0 with our A Team out?

The All Blacks came for the rough and tumble and decided to scrum again and again and turn it into a bruising challenge. Who says they underperformed? What about giving credit to the guys in blue taking that bruising on the chin? Great to see big hits going in from both teams. The ABs had moments of brilliance - passing, and also showed they are far from perfect,kicking.Could a stronger team have exploited this perhaps - but at what cost.

The crowd were on good form and I did not hear one gripe about the team selections.The Mexican wave always happens at some point - not because of a mediocre game.

Let's see what Saturday brings - I still think it was the right call.

  • 49.
  • At 09:56 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Michael ONeill wrote:

theres a lot of sense being talked here. shame the powers that be dont read the blogs!

my main gripe with this excuse for a match was the jerseys. every time i decided to waste another 5 mins checking out the action i found it totally im possible to decipher the two teams. it was totally ridiculous. for the record im not colour blind and i dont wear glasses - it was also early afternoon so i wasnt drunk either.

by the way my im irish and my previous main gripe was why in the name of god do seedings for this tournament take place 2 years before the event - how can 3 teams in the top 6 of world rankings end up in the same group???? altho our own ranking looks a tad high i do admit!

  • 50.
  • At 10:41 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Rob Legge wrote:

No-one wants to play the All Blacks. What a surprise! You have a team that cultivates the aura of invincibility, where they've stated that the best team in the World is New Zealand A and the second best is New Zealand B. So nobody wants to play them and why should they?
Teams like playing against England. Even when they were at their best in 2003 there was still the feeling they could be beaten, but no-one wants to play against a team that can't be beaten. It's no fun for the opponents knowing you're on a hiding to nothing before you start, and no fun, really, for the ABs either, as we've seen.

So either the Kiwis have to lighten up and remember it's just a game; winning all the time does no-one any good or go off and play with themselves. Australia and South Africa can join them if they wish and they can play their own brand, putting in to practise all those "innovations" they want like unopposed scrums, collapsible mauls, and reduced numbers on the pitch - provided of course they no longer call it Rugby Union.

  • 51.
  • At 10:58 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • whitepaw wrote:

It's an interesting debate - Scotland have a long history of 'brave' sporting failures and to field the first XV against NZ would almost certainly not have changed the result. So it is a refreshing change, perhaps, to see a Scotland coach use the nous a bit and take the pragmatic approach. Besides, we can always field the first team when we reach the final.. hehe!!

Oh and as for the strips - I kept waiting for them to stop the game and change it around. It was a total shambles and very poor from the RWC organisers.

I think the organisers must share some of the blame for the Scotland B team issue. Clearly all the groups boil down to the second and third ranked teams facing each other in the final round. Surely then in round 4 of 5 neither Scotland or Italy should either play NZ or have a bye. Each could have played NZ and had their byes in rounds 1 to 3. The situation was made a lot worse by Scotland playing NZ so close to the Italy game whilst Italy had the bye.
With 4 years between World Cups how hard can it be to get these things right (to say nothing of the strips debacle)?

  • 53.
  • At 12:01 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Jack Healy wrote:

Originally I was enraged by the decision to field a B team. However that rage abated to be replaced by my disgust of the Scotland strip! Whoever designed and decided to put the team out against the All Blacks in that truly awful, homo-erotic, lycra kit should be shot. Power Rangers, comic cartoon super heroes! What is with all the grey and white patches? Let us please return to the simple honesty of an all blue shirt. The result today was a confusing visual spectacle. Shame on all involved.

Dr Jack

  • 54.
  • At 12:09 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • DavieMac wrote:

Mark #11.For Scotland to progress in this world cup they have to beat Italy.If that happens in all likelyhood they will face Argentina in the QF.Which would give them a great chance of playing SA in the semis.By which time th AB's will hopefully be back home,cancelling the victory parade once more.I would suggest that this loss against the AB's was no worse than any other in recent times.The problem with the schedule is that it is the smaller nations who get the raw deal,ie USA,Japan,Georgia at the start of the tournament.The top seeds,who rotate players anyway,get the longest rests.Perhaps they've earned it,but dont criticise others.

  • 55.
  • At 12:21 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • ct wrote:

The game against the all blacks was never going to be a thriller. From the moment that the draw was made, the clear goal was (and still is ) to qualify for the QF. Given the sporadic nature of the planning of the world cup it was clear that team rotation would have to happen in order to give us a good chance against the italians. As a scot im proud of what the team who played acheived (bar pattersons breif and below average performance), just because the AB team did not put 80points on an alledged scottish B team doaes not mean that the AB s did not play well, it means that scotland hounded them into plenty of unforced errors (admittedly, helped probably, by the farcical situation with the strips- heads should roll). We should move on and look to the italy match a stop hounding FH, at the end of the day if Scotland make it to the QF s to take on Argentina( a much preferable proposal then the french hosts) do we not stand a real chance of progression and hence turning Hadden and the boys into national heros......

  • 56.
  • At 01:35 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Stompie wrote:

What about the "big" teams that put weaker 15's out against the smaller teams?? What's the difference?? Wasn't a recent BBC headline "All Blacks bring back big guns for Scotland"? I find it disgraceful that they didn't field their strongest team against Portugal, what a show of disrespect!!

And would there have been the same nonsense had Hadden put out a "second" string against Romania?? C'mon, let's get real here.

All through the tournament, as usual, we have to listen to the belief that the only teams that matter in this tournament are NZ, Aus, SA and them down south. So the fact that Scotland didn't put out a full team against NZ is defeatist or shows lack of respect?? For Scotland, pure and simple it's about getting to the quarters, so we shouldn't make any apologies for changing our line up.

You can't have one rule for a "big" team, and then criticise a smaller team for doing the same thing.

  • 57.
  • At 01:47 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • michael wrote:

its was the right choice playing 2nds, the poor organisation of the tournament was at fault not hadden and why are italy seeded higher than scotland anyway? 2 interceptions and a charge down in 20 minutes and it over rules 150 years of rugby history in scotland? never mind the fact there an all round better rugby outfit

  • 58.
  • At 02:12 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Doug M. wrote:

I too support Hadden. Realistically, Scotland have never beaten the AB. So there was virtually no 'up-side' to playing a full-strength team. I thought Hadden played only those players he could afford to get injured - ie where he had a reasonable replacement. I will echo the bulk of the comments though. I watched on TV in Oz, and I found it virtually impossible to distinguish the strips. I thought the Scottish defence was manful, especially the first 20 minutes of the first half, but the kicking was woeful, there were so many times they didn't find touch, Paterson's two penalties in the first half being especially galling. I thought the referee had an off day, the AB virtually never put the ball in straight to the scrum, and apparently New Zealanders are allowed to handle in the ruck, and stray into offside positions at scrum and ruck. I also thought the AB scrumming verged on the illegal through boring in on many occasions. Plaudits to Scotland's No 8 who handled an impossible situation going backwards very well. Virtually impossible for any assessment of the scrum half though.

  • 59.
  • At 02:26 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Watching this game in the middle of the night from New Zealand was doing my head in trying to discern the two strips apart. I can only feel for the frustration of the players from both sides trying to make split second passing decisions. Not to mention the paying fans in the stands. I've since read the All Black coaching staff made a rare concession about the strip confusion compromising the performance.

What I read from the game was that the AB's wanted the forwards to be tested by the Scots because they have upcoming games that will hinge on what happens up front. They won't read too much into the forced passes because of the uniform debacle but some of the dropped ones may have the same effect on the players involved.

Scotland used to be a bogie team for the All Blacks sometimes producing games that made you wonder why the results had always gone New Zealand's way. Although the result was expected by all and sundry this time round, I saw a side in Scotland that still tackled its hearts out on the day.

Having officiated at many tournaments I can say that the match delegates who permitted the colour clash would not be popular with the referrees. However the ref should have taken it on himself and ordered a change as soon as the clash was obvious.

  • 61.
  • At 09:13 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew Lee wrote:

Lets hope Italy -v- Scotland is a great game and makes up for this unfortunate but predicatable situation. Hang on, both Italy and Scotland play in blue; oh no!

  • 62.
  • At 09:16 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Robin wrote:

Everyone get a grip!
what is the point of the competition - to get as far as possible. If Hadden makes the decision to rest players for Italy thats how he thinks he will achieve this goal. Spirit of the game, tournament - whatever. It's a professional sport and whether we like it or not a business.
Is it more disrespectful to put out a reduced side strength team against the 'minnows'?
The sport has changed with professionalism and there is no going back

  • 63.
  • At 09:25 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Andy L wrote:

About time IRB moved with the times and insisted that in IRB tournaments that one team plays in a dark strip, the other in a light/white strip, as they do in the football World cup. So France in blue v Ireland in white, Scotland in dark blue v Wales in white, etc. Also, shorts and socks mustn't clash. So simple, unbelievable.

  • 64.
  • At 10:16 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Sandy wrote:

During the half time break, Jim Rosenthal summed it up perfectly:

"For those finding it difficult to tell the teams apart, New Zealand are the team with the ball"

  • 65.
  • At 11:42 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Robert Young wrote:

I'm a massive Scotland supporter and i'm absoultely disgusted by the ethics for the NZ game. I understand exactly why Hadden fielded a weakened team but i don't agree with it one bit. To be in a World Cup and playing the team ranked number 1 should be a privelege and a challenge. So what if they get to the Quarter finals they've still be tonked by New Zealand! Maybe its an old fashioned, wishful thinking view but go for it, push them hard and play with pride. The Italy game is another game prepare for that and field your strongest available team. I feel so sorry for the crowd that had to pay a lot of money to watch a weakened team.....you can deal with a beating if you know its your best team. A very disappointed, annoyed Supporter

  • 66.
  • At 12:00 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Roger wrote:

The match was nothing more than an expensive training session.
But another aspect of the day baffled me as much as the colours and that was the organisation.
In Lyon and St Etienne there were hundreds of red shirted volunteer-ambassadors on the streets and inside the ground helping visitors. Everyone was searched on entry and after the game police controlled the traffic and got spectators to the metro and trams in no time.
At Murrayfield there were few if any volunteers, no security and very few police around afterwards to help out. The transport system seemed to be on Sunday service. It was just hopeless compared to what it's been in France.

  • 67.
  • At 12:04 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Scot English wrote:

Who cares....?
Accounting for tickets and travel down from NE Scotland I reckon I paid over £500 to take my kids and father to Murrayfield on Sunday.
We had a great day out - the weather was kind, the beer flowed and we had some laughs with the Kiwi supporters.
Admittedly the game was mediocre and the result inevitable - the only suprise was that it wasn't by a greater margin!
I think someone mentioned it earlier but a first half Mexican wave really summed up the lack of passion to get behind the home team.
Unlike the Scottish football team, its really sad to see that you can't get behind your Rugby team in the same way!!
Personally, I reckon an Italian win on Saturday will be better for the spirit of the game!!

  • 68.
  • At 12:38 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • bushfighter wrote:

the IRB needs to sort something out about kits. when you've got two teams in similar coloured tops and near identical shorts and socks it's going to cause problems for the ref's.

the NBA has a good arrangement where the away kit has to be all white while the home kit can be any colour but white. hence there is never a clash. obviously the colour white is taken already but a similar idea would work wonders (pink maybe...).

  • 69.
  • At 12:50 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • heather wrote:

Ugly, ugly shirts! In fact, I blame the shirts for everything ... I mean how can you feel good about yourself wearing love-handle-hugging dimplex safety gloves - you're on a hiding to nothing before you even touch the ball. What were they thinking for goodness sake! Let's hope Bergamasco doesn't wear Prada on Saturday.

  • 70.
  • At 12:57 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Wise old owl wrote:

I can see the merits in what Frank Hadden done by choosing a "B" team on Saturday but all that he has done has made a game that was going to be high pressure game for the Scotland into unbearably tense game for us now. All the pressure is on us and there is no pressure on Italy now mainly down to there form. I think this is a recipe for disaster unfortunately, I hope I am proved wrong as a QF against Argentina would be fantastic opportunity as they may not be able to keep this form going for much longer. Here's hoping!!!!

  • 71.
  • At 12:58 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Lin wrote:

I just found the game so hard to watch. You could hardly tell who was who. Who decided that they should play in such similar colours????? What was wrong with them both playing in their usual kit? At least we would have not needed to look at the backs of their socks to see who was on which side. Awful decision by the powers that be! :(

  • 72.
  • At 01:11 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Gav wrote:

I can appreciate many of the posts above, particularly those who attended the match and paid high prices for tickets.

However, I completely understand the decision. I would much rather see Scotland in this tournament for as long as possible. Win, lose or draw against the ABs was irrelevant really. The game which really decides our fate for the next round is Argentina v Ireland. Say we beat the All Blacks, won the group and ended up playing France and got beat in the 1/4s. Rubbish. Alternatively, give some fringe players a chance to stake their claim for a shot in the crunch group game and KO games - and end up playing Argentina. I know what I'd do. And Frank did it too.

A 20-point loss with three injuries to NZ followed by a narrow defeat to Italy would have been much worse than the 40-point loss we saw but with a fresh, fit squad to play Italy in what was always going to be the key game of the group.

This isn't just 'one of the top teams' we were playing. They are clearly the best side in the world at present and it will take a monumental performance from anyone to stop them. I'd much rather Scotland saved that sort of performance for the final rather than in a group stage where our next opponents have already had 5 days more rest.

Good tactics Frank. Dont listen to the doubters.

  • 73.
  • At 01:13 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Gav wrote:

I can appreciate many of the posts above, particularly those who attended the match and paid high prices for tickets.

However, I completely understand the decision. I would much rather see Scotland in this tournament for as long as possible. Win, lose or draw against the ABs was irrelevant really. The game which really decides our fate for the next round is Argentina v Ireland. Say we beat the All Blacks, won the group and ended up playing France and got beat in the 1/4s. Rubbish. Alternatively, give some fringe players a chance to stake their claim for a shot in the crunch group game and KO games - and end up playing Argentina. I know what I'd do. And Frank did it too.

A 20-point loss with three injuries to NZ followed by a narrow defeat to Italy would have been much worse than the 40-point loss we saw but with a fresh, fit squad to play Italy in what was always going to be the key game of the group.

This isn't just 'one of the top teams' we were playing. They are clearly the best side in the world at present and it will take a monumental performance from anyone to stop them. I'd much rather Scotland saved that sort of performance for the final rather than in a group stage where our next opponents have already had 5 days more rest.

Good tactics Frank. Dont listen to the doubters.

  • 74.
  • At 01:34 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Derek wrote:

Come on Italy!

The Scot's, once brave and fearless, proved they are second string. They do not deserve to be in the next round.

As for the Kits, the marketing men have clearly got a wrong. They are more suited to Come Dancing that the RWC.

  • 75.
  • At 01:38 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Andy W wrote:

I completely agree with Frank Hadden's decision - However I think it was absolutely scandalous to charge anybody £150 a ticket. Even if it was an all guns blazing Quarter Final.

I was there in 1999 when we played the AB's in the QF - which was electric.

I'm not sure if it was the SRU's decision or the RWC hosts to set the price - but one things for sure rugby fans missed out that couldn't afford it - and through scheduling the ones that could afford it missed out also.

Even watching on the TV gave me very mixed feelings

  • 76.
  • At 01:44 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Derek wrote:

Come on Italy!

The Scot's, once brave and fearless, proved they are second string. They do not deserve to be in the next round.

As for the Kits, the marketing men have clearly got a wrong. They are more suited to Come Dancing than the RWC.

  • 77.
  • At 02:02 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • John Ponting wrote:

Agree in total - I just hope for a good game between Italy and Scotland and may the best team win.

  • 78.
  • At 02:13 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Jonny wrote:

I totally agree about the sense in Hadden's choice of team, but also that it made for a terrible spectacle.

I have never played rugby at the to level, but if it's true that recovery times would have given Scotland a big disadvantage, the that is clearly a disaster in terms of planing/timing of the event. That will need to be thought through for next time round.

Also it does say something about the state of world rugby if a team in the world top ten has no chance of beating the number one team. It would not happen in any other sport that I can think of. Maybe the rules should be looked at to level things a bit more (same goes for thrashings of smaller teams).

Yes and the kits were terrible.

  • 79.
  • At 04:00 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Heather Goose wrote:

I just had to post a comment to agree. Sunday's match was mediocre, not at all the usual calibre of a World Cup match. Where was the passion? and more importantly where where the All Blacks - all i saw was All Grey, and I'm not just talking about the kit!! The performances were good, but i've seen more love passion and enthusiasm in a friendly!

And whoever decided to put two teams in similar colours needs shooting - I had the benefit of excellent commentators to work out who was who for me, because I sure as hell couldn't do it myself!

  • 80.
  • At 04:08 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • BartonAlan wrote:

I disagreed with Frank Hadden's decision before the game and still do. It was a rip off and all attending fans should be refunded. It was a crap game made all the worse by the ridiculous similarity in the strips - the referee should have sent one team off to change. They would have been less similar if the ABs had not changed their usual strip.
I think we'll beat Italy, and, as someone else said, we have as good a chance as any of the NH nations of reaching the semis. Unlikely though.

  • 81.
  • At 04:19 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Bill Hewitt wrote:


If I had payed 150 for a ticket, I would be asking for a large slice back! Who came up with that price for a group game ? Line them up against a wall with the kit designers ;-)

  • 82.
  • At 04:53 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Iandor wrote:

Well done Frank Hadden - this was a great call- the only sensible thing to do given the circumstances. Please will the whingers and death or glory merchants wisw up. Wait until we have beaten Italy and end up as the best northern hemisphere side (with the best coach)in this tournament by going on to the semi-finals! What a shot in the arm for Scotish rugby!

  • 83.
  • At 06:52 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Alex Schuster wrote:

Possibilty of Scotland advancing to the quarter finals: quite high, likelihood being that Scotland will beat Italy.

Possibility of Scotland advancing from the quarter finals to the semi-finals: minuscule. Safe to state that Scotland would not beat France in their current form. And Argentina are ranked much higher than Scotland in the world rankings because they are, at this point in time, a superior rugby team.

  • 84.
  • At 08:28 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

I would argue that as a showpiece match in an event that only happens every 4 yrs the Scots had a responsibility to show up. Agree with earlier comment that this wasn't far off first team (minus lamonts) so how much rest did they get in the end? Those that did played poorly except Murray. Scotland will look pretty stupid if they lose against Italy. If they knew that they were not going to try and win why not play in France rather than Murrayfield? Ironically France's decision to give home matches to wales and scotland mean they will play qf in Cardiff. Serves them right!

  • 85.
  • At 09:08 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • James Clark wrote:

People are underestimating scotlands performance. A 2nd XV held the all blacks 10 metres from the line for 20 minutes, surely a great feat. Look beyond the unflatering scorline and appreciate their geroic defensive effort.

  • 86.
  • At 09:22 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • James wrote:

The kits for the RWC are dire all round, and are an obvious attempt by the kit companies to make a few quid out of the gullible as they do in the round ball game. The clue is the description of the ghastly red England kit as "away" kit. Anyone who has played rugby will tell you that if there is a clash, the home team changes, not the away team. Which begs the question; why were the NZ team not wearing black and Scotland wearing a change strip? I suppose the answer is that Murrayfield was for the purposes of this match in France, and therefore on "neutral" territory. I've seen less b*llsh*t on a dairy farm! Best way for fans to make their feelings known is to refuse to buy any of the (overpriced) replica kit. then with average luck they'll stop making horrible strip, and go back to basics.

  • 87.
  • At 09:43 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Jasonstry wrote:

I would be willing to bet that the people who support Frank's decision to field a second stream side didn't spend over £1000 to watch the match. That is what it cost my wife and I to attend Murrayfield on Sunday, mainly because of lost business. If we had been told what we were going to be watching (a second/third string side) we would not have bought tickets. You can imagine that we were p***ed off at best. Now we are told by Mr Hadden how we, Scots, will judge him - beating Italy etc. No, we have already judged Hadden and the SRU. We will be cheering for Italy and we will not be seen at Murrayfield again.

  • 88.
  • At 09:52 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Jasonstry wrote:

I would be willing to bet that the people who support Frank's decision to field a second stream side didn't spend over £1000 to watch the match. That is what it cost my wife and I to attend Murrayfield on Sunday, mainly because of lost business. If we had been told what we were going to be watching (a second/third string side) we would not have bought tickets. You can imagine that we were p***ed off at best. Now we are told by Mr Hadden how we, Scots, will judge him - beating Italy etc. No, we have already judged Hadden and the SRU. We will be cheering for Italy and we will not be seen at Murrayfield again.

  • 89.
  • At 11:04 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • jason wrote:

Some-one said that this was not far off a Scotland 1st team but they obviously don't know what they are talking about. The only players in that sunday team who could make Italy game are Patterson, webster & possbly murray. The schedule gave hadden no option in his decision to do this & i expect us to now beat the italians & progress to qtrs where we have a good chance of also beating argentina for place in semis. Can't wait to hear the change in opinion then.

  • 90.
  • At 11:34 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • David wrote:

#87 It was an open secret before the world cup began that Scotland were not going to field their best team against the AB's. Henry even complained about it back then. Just check out the BBC sports news archives.

Scotland are not here to make the AB's look good and feel good about themselves (good luck in the final) but we have our own race to run and the AB game was not part of it.

The team we put on the park were not amatures but they did not fire....at all on the day (the AB's did not have a great game either).

If we meet again in the tournament (yes, I konw a very outside chance..so far outside infact that we are in Moscow) the AB's will get the best we have because then it will be all or nothing.

Sunday however had absolutly no upside for us. "Might have won" would simply have changed the games tally to 25 lost and 1 drawn.

  • 91.
  • At 11:46 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • David wrote:

#87 It was an open secret before the world cup began that Scotland were not going to field their best team against the AB's. Henry even complained about it back then. Just check out the BBC sports news archives.

Scotland are not here to make the AB's look good and feel good about themselves (good luck in the final) but we have our own race to run and the AB game was not part of it.

The team we put on the park were not amatures but they did not fire....at all on the day (the AB's did not have a great game either).

If we meet again in the tournament (yes, I konw a very outside chance..so far outside infact that we are in Moscow) the AB's will get the best we have because then it will be all or nothing.

Sunday however had absolutly no upside for us. "Might have won" would simply have changed the games tally to 25 lost and 1 drawn.

  • 92.
  • At 07:32 AM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • James wrote:

Forza Italia! We neutrals would be most amused if Scotland lost to Italy despite putting out a B team against NZ

  • 93.
  • At 10:33 AM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • anysparechange wrote:

watching the NZ game was a disappointing affair. the tradionalist in me would have loved to see two 1st XVs battle out a tough game. however, lets be honest here. I would rather see Scotland take part in the QFs and our best chance of getting there was for Hadden to do what he did.

it's undeniable.

Scotland, having picked up the wooden spoon now look likely to progress through the group stages and perhaps even make the semis. Scotland's larger neighbour, the world cup holders, face an ardous task against a hard hiting and mobile Tongan side who look like they really believe in themselves. the possibility is that England may not qualify for the QFs and Scotland may make the semis. although, I feel Argentina would provide a very difficult game. with a full strength side out, Scotland look very capable of beating a stuttering Italian side and then, who knows? at those stages, almost anything can happen.

Scotland v Australia in the final???

OK.OK I'll shut up.

  • 94.
  • At 12:13 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

Can somebody please explain to me why on earth Wales and Scotland are playing some of their games at home. Murryfield is always shockingly empty when not filled with 75% visiting fans, while at Cardif, when predictably it all goes wrong, the crowd reinact scenes the burial of Uncle Jones. Surely this home advantage is against the spirit of a cup competition.

Bravo to the French for the excellent show to date, full stadia for every game, graet French support and magnifique organisation. Maybe next time the governing vote makers will have more sense.

  • 95.
  • At 01:20 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • Gavin H wrote:

Having travelled up for the match from Bristol, i was disappointed but can understand the reasons for the team selection. What i cannot understand however was the total lack of fire, passion and belief in the 15 guys who took the field in the blue (with a lot of grey!). What a fantastic opportunity they had to stake a claim for the forthcoming matches.
A guy in our section threw his shirt on the pitch in disgust towards the end, and i agree with him, and many of the views stated here on this thread. However, it is done so we have to move on.
It was horribly apparent to me when the team arrived at the airport on Monday to fly back out to France that nobody cheered them on, or clapped or anything. Now is the time for us to get behind them, be it at the game or from in front of our telly, and truly support them.

The team need to make us proud again: they and Hadden have let us down, and only they can atone for it, but they can only do so with our support!

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