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Can Scotland beat the All Blacks?

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John Beattie | 18:05 UK time, Sunday, 7 November 2010

Can Scotland beat the All Blacks? That's the big question for this weekend, given that we have never done so.

Oh, and thank goodness they performed their old Haka before the England game, as the new one is an insult. And I liked the English crowd reaction as they tried to drown it out.

What makes All Black rugby special? Well, there was one ball carry against England by Kieran Read, the number eight, which summed it up.

He fielded a kick and ran into the opposition as hard as he could. It was no training-run entry into contact, he went for it as venomously as was possible.

Rule number one is that All Blacks don't hold back, and the try they conceded to England was their first in their last three tours.

And ever since Andy Haden jumped out of a line-out in Cardiff when nobody had touched him, I think most of the world realises that the All Blacks would do anything to win. Anything.

Richie McCaw, on Saturday, had one of the most unsubtle bits of lazy running, an act of which even Zinzan Brooke might have been proud.

The All Blacks perform the Haka ahead of their Test against England at Twickenham. Photo: Getty.

The All Blacks perform the Haka ahead of their Test against England at Twickenham. Photo: Getty

I so wish referees would penalise the All Blacks for some of their nonsense, and I wish McCaw would stop trying to get the referee to penalise the opposition as it demeans the game.

Rule two is that we all know that left back home in New Zealand are blokes who are unable to make the All Blacks but who would play for Scotland. They are, frankly, glorious players at times.

I've tried to analyse their game. The All Black forwards hit up two or three times to get some forward momentum, and then they move it wide, often behind dummy runners. When the ball is out wide they trust their fast men to get in behind and offload.

Their rucking is extremely low to the ground, and a model for the rest of us. They defend mauls with little "mini" wheels after they smash them back, and then try to get in on the wrong side.

I don't think I've seen a team, one to 15, who are so good at getting hands on the ball when an opposing attacker has been brought to ground, and then they fire over the ball to try to win it.

It's impressive stuff. So how do you beat the number one team in the world?

First, you have to get the ball.

At scrum time the All Blacks are wily. Wheels to left and right and disruption as to the height of the scrum are all party tricks and, although England seemed to subdue them, I don't think Scotland will to the same extent.

England played a three-point attack - the same as Saracens and London Irish - but I am not sure that's the way to play the All Blacks.

Listen, I never beat them either, but it seems to me that it might be worth attacking what they perceive as their strengths but going close up the sides to tie in their best defenders, and then try to go through their midfield.

Crazy? Well, I can't see teams beating the All Blacks on the outside, but if Richie Vernon and Richie Gray can get running in midfield, or if the Lamont can come on short balls, then there is a chance.

The All Blacks are a very, very good rugby team. The trouble is that, at times, their antics on the pitch make them easy to dislike.

However, to be fair to every single All Black rugby team, the way they react at the end of the game by seeking out opponents to shake hands with and then to praise publicly afterwards, is superb.

Nothing lasts for ever, although this particular losing streak feels as though it has. Can Scotland win?


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  • Comment number 1.

    simple answer, no we wont beat the all blacks, im more confident about SA and Samoa though

  • Comment number 2.

    Good grief. Another believer in the theory that there is a world wide conspiracy amongst match officials to ensure that the ABs always win. What is demeaning to the game is the number of journalists who so quickly criticise NZ tactics but turn a blind eye to their own teams who are using exactly the same tactics. I can remember when England were so dominant and every other team in the world, especially Wales, Scotland and Ireland were complaining about the way they played. Tall Poppy Syndrome perhaps?

  • Comment number 3.

    You don't like New Zealand's antics on the field? Of course you don't because they always crush you!

  • Comment number 4.

    Mr Beattie

    It would be unfair if we (Scotland) were to beat the AB's.

    (The closest I've come to seeing this momentous event was at Murrayfield (1972?)and running out 3-3 winners!)

    Whilst Scotland have an impressive team attitude and that they all punch well above their weight it would be sporting history if the All Blacks lost here. Looking at the team many of ours would merit a slot in theirs?

  • Comment number 5.

    Personally i am looking forward to Saturdays game as its my first trip to Murrayfield.

    Wether we can beat the All Blacks is doubtful. But remain positive and you never know what can happen.

    It is possible, didn't Scotland beat Australia last Year?

  • Comment number 6.

    yes we can! If there was ever a time to do it its now. Scotland are on good form and have improved drastically since Hadden left. Andy Robinson is doing a great job and I can't wait to see how we get on next saturday. We beat Australia last year not through any amazing feat of genius but simply through a solid defense. Only in the dying minutes of the game did Australia manage to get a try, luckily not converted.

  • Comment number 7.

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  • Comment number 8.

    I cant in all honesty see Scotland beating the All-Blacks. Even if we are close for most of the match they have the ability to turn the screws for all 80 minutes. Scotland arent quite there yet.
    However, I would be very pleased (and satisfied) if Scotland can score a few tries. This is where we need to improve, converting possession into points, not just 3's here and there but 5's and 7's. All too often Scotland dominate long periods of possession and dont get the ball over the try line. Lets get this campaign off to a strong start and score some tries. Best of luck lads.

  • Comment number 9.

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  • Comment number 10.

    As much as we've improved I can't see us beating the All Blacks next Saturday.

    It's not impossible, or beyond us, but New Zealand are truly in a class of their own at the moment and I can't see a drop in form at Murrayfield. I think South Africa will be there for the taking but New Zealand, well let's just say I have my doubts.

    New Zealand do not just have outstanding players but, more importantly, as a unit are incredibly functional which allows them to play this beautiful flowing rugby something which we only see glimpses of over here.

    The weight of history as well puts pressure on Scotland so I think the boys in blue will have a good crack at the All Blacks, but there will be at least a 10 points difference at 80 minutes in the Kiwis' favour.

    Although here's hoping for a pleasant surprise!

  • Comment number 11.

    YES THE SCOTTS CAN WIN. If any All Blacks side can be beaten (which it can as seen in Hong Kong vs Wallabies) then it will be the side fielded against Scotland. This tour is all about experimenting with combinations for the benefit of the World Cup next year. That said, Scotland being arguably the weakest side in the Northern tour for us will face the most experimental side the All Blacks will field untill after the World Cup. The selection will be interesting. If Ritchie McCaw sits one out, this will be it. Kieran Reid may take over as captain (untested in this role),Carter may be rested to give Donald one last chance (Hes stuffed up all the others under pressure), Kevin Mealamu has been cited and may be suspended, Mils Muliana maybe swapped for Cory Jane at full back raising issues about who will play on the right wing, Roko has been hard working on the other wing but has lost his spark and maybe his last tour, Ben Franks is injured, Tialata has been called up from NZ (He hasnt palyed since July, Hika Elliot will get his (debut or second?) start and is promising but is young and inexperienced at this level. So as far as frount rows go this will be the easiest to rattle that Scotland may see for a long long time. The backs will be either veterans that are slowing down, or young guys being played in different positions. The mid field combination will be trialled too. However with Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Conrad Smith and Toeava to pick from it will be our strongest section. Only Toeava has a question mark over his head regarding the squad for 2011. Nicknamed Ice he can melt when the heat is turned up. This said, they will be playing for RWC spots. Scotland have been getting stronger of late and will learn alot from watching England and Auz (Who beat us two weekends ago). I dont know much about the Scottish side but if they can match us in the frount row, Challenge our set piece with their own and contain as best as is humanly possible our midfiled (which will reek havock this weekend). In short if the pressure comes on from the start the ABs have a fustrated weak game and the Scotts have a strong game there is chance history will be made next week. Have you heard this before? I would put 5 bucks down on Scotland but only 5. Its up to your boys now.

  • Comment number 12.

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  • Comment number 13.

    This is just a training trip for the All Blacks. When will we see them beaten? In the World Cup, not before. Who might beat them then? The Aussies, South Africa, Ireland, France and England in that order.
    The All Blacks want it all, not for sport or fun, but to be adored at home. Wrong reason. They are great players but their mentality will let them down. It is more important for them to insult all their opponents with the Haka than to recognise the damage that performance does to the feelings of rest of the rugby playing world.
    Just imagine them continuing that dance if they were on a major losing streak. It might seem a bit thin
    and vain don't you think?

  • Comment number 14.

    Of course we 'can' win. But it's very unlikely despite the wins over Ireland and then Argentiana, this represents a different league.

    The All Blacks win, John, because they are the best from 1-15, not because they 'play' the referee.

    I agree that it is an adjunct to their game, but over the years how many Scottish sides have won by doing exactly that? A few I suspect!

    We have always been good at masking our weaknesses, but the best will expose our limitations on the field. And the 'Blacks' are still the best.

    We should celebrate them, not demean them.

    I'll be screaming as loud as anyone for the home team, but I remain realistic. Good Luck Scotland, but you are going to have to play the ref well to win this one! ;)

  • Comment number 15.

    No chance!

    The best game plan ever wont beat shear speed and strength.

    Our forwards will always compete well but in the backs physically we cannot compete. Players like Patterson couldnt tackle a fishing rod, and Parks is not much better. Then when you look at the pace and strength of our wingers compared to theirs.... Rocokoco or Simon Danialle. The Evans boys are fast but small.

    And add on top of that their supperior skill levels we are on for a hiding.

    Im still going though and hoping we stick one on them!

    Our best chance is to attack them when they are doing that Haka rubbish.

  • Comment number 16.

    JB, Anything is possible, right? Sure, it might be a long shot, but now is as good an opportunity as we've had for many a year, and if NZ, as some are predicting, field a slightly weaker side (not that that makes a huge difference in player calibre), then Scotland do have a chance. I hope that we continue to play the game that Robbo has been working us towards over the last 18 months or so, the same one that Glasgow and Edinburgh have shown glimpses of in their last few ML matches. The latter two don't always have the skill levels to execute their fast offloads, quick rucking game, but I believe that Scotland could.

    I remember as a young lad going to watch Graham Mourie's tourists play at Murrayfield as they sought to add Scotland's scalp as the last piece of their Home Nations grandslam - with only minutes left, Scotland were down 9-12 but pressing the AB line. Geech stepped up to put over another DG, but it was charges down and the ABs ran the length of the field to score - if we can play like those guys did on that day, then there's hope for Scotland

  • Comment number 17.

    I don't think Scotland will win, but they are not the total write off that I've been hearing about.

    It's difficult to say what is the key to defeating the AB's because they are so good that there is not one single thing that will mean you beat them.

    If we can score a few tries against the AB's it may just be a sign that we are finally getting that particular monkey off our back. Also it would give us a chance of winning this game, if we defend like we have seen in the past.

  • Comment number 18.

    Have faith Scotland. New Zealand are beatable even on the slide. They will be hurting after that game with England I think you can do it. Ref on your side not theirs of course. As an Englishman I would love the Scots to beat the all Blacks. Lets have a 2011 world cup where all NH sides are contention in the last 16 and at least 2 in the semis. Chin up Scotland.

  • Comment number 19.

    Despite Henry most probably giving rests to Carter and McCaw the All Blacks will still be too ruthless to beat. However, I do think the Scottish defence is actually one of the better in northern hemisphere as shown in 6 nations and Argentina (10 mins of madness and bad refereeing in Cardiff aside). For me Gray and Vernon have to play and selecting R Lamont at 15 too.

    To have any chance then aiming to beat them at the set piece is a must and we are more than capable of disrupting line outs and scrums, although thought they did well against English front row.

    Agree with Beattie that refs let All Blacks away with things other teams get penalised for. Be it forward passes, deliberate obstruction and mainly ruck offences. How ref never gave England a penalty for McCaws deliberate run into the 9 i don't know. About time refs up here showed both teams equal respect.

    My team for Saturday:

    R Lamont
    N Walker
    Evans (but Cairns if SBW selected)
    R Lawson

    Hines/Low as 2nd half impact subs.

  • Comment number 20.

    Excuse me, why is Kapa O Pango an insult? Do you know what it means? Are you an expert on Maori tikanga? I don't think so! Learn about the meaning before you make ignorant comments concerning Kapa O Pango!

  • Comment number 21.

    As a Scot I believe that we can beat anyone on our day, however I can't help thinking that saturday won't be "our day".

    On saturday past the ABs didn't play as well as I've seen them in the tri-nations and still beat an England side who I thought played very well and on their home paddock. Surely this is the sign of a great side who can come off a flight from Hong Kong look a bit jaded and still turn out a result.

    I really fear for the Scots as I think that after the England game the ABs will move up a gear and, I'm afraid to say it , could put a 50 thru us.

    But I'll still shout myself hoarse for Scotland.

  • Comment number 22.

    Maybe give Walker a break from both wings and let S Lamont play..Missing T Evans..

  • Comment number 23.

    Plenty of vitriol on this thread from a number of people.

    UncleBulleye - how terribly witty of you. You should write a blog. I'll be quite certain to make a point of never reading it.

    KOP - I can only assume that you're being intentionally obtuse rather than naive. Derek Lardelli can speak eloquently about the hauora gesture signifying the transfer of energy across the body, but to the rest of the world, it's a throat slitting gesture. That's insulting to a large number of people to whom the actual explanation will be irrelevant. And we don't see it that much here - I think that most people prefer Ka Mate. What's wrong with that?

    Can we win? Of course.

    Will we? Not unless a second string side is played, we play out of our shirts and two thirds of the Blackness have a terrible day at the office. But we were of course given 'no chance' against the last team to beat the ABs last autumn. And goodness me, look what happened.

  • Comment number 24.

    Whilst Scotland want to go onto the pitch with a positive mind to beat the All Blacks, I think that Robinson should still look at these Autumn tests as opporuntities to try out different things. Therefore we will go into the 6 Nations better prepared.

    My Team:

    15. R. Lamont
    14. S. Lamont
    13. M. Evans
    12. g. Morrison
    11. N. Walker
    10. D. Parks
    9. M. Blair
    8. R. Vernon
    7. J. Barclay
    6. K. Brown
    5. R. Gray
    4. N. Hines
    3. E. Murray
    2. R. Ford
    1. A. Jacobsen

    Subs: R. Jackson, B. Cairns, R. Lawson, M. Low, S. MacLeod, D. Hall, A. MacDonald

    Would like to See Jackson get at least 15 mins. Was really struggling with second rows, but I think you have to start with a player as experienced as Hines, and Gray is playing great just now. Maybe take Hines off on the 50 mark for MacLeod.
    Deliberately left out Chris Paterson as I cannot see what Scotland will gain by playing him, although he kicks goals and is quite a consistent performer, I think its time to be looking towards the future a bit more and giving the young guys a shot.

  • Comment number 25.

    My heart and head say we can't, but I have this funny feeling...... OK it's wishful thinking.

  • Comment number 26.

    Technically it's a big ask so we have to be as well prepared as possible in that respect and look elsewhere for slight advantages, of which there are several.

    Fielding a second string Scottish side at home to the All Blacks in the last WC was a real low point. It sent out all the wrong messages. As a nation we have to be infinitely more ambitious and aggressive than that.

    Eventually Scotland will beat the All Blacks for the first time. I just hope to see it in my lifetime. There's no reason whatsoever why it can't happen this Saturday. We have a fighting chance and must fight tooth and nail for victory every step of the way.

    The first Scottish team to beat the All Blacks will immortalise themselves in our rugby folklore. That's an enormously motivating goal to aim for.

    The Scottish fans need to back their team to the hilt. Let's all shout and sing ourselves hoarse and make the most of our home advantage this time.

  • Comment number 27.

    No chance.

    I hope Scotland can put up a competitive performace, and that New Zealand play to the spirit of the game before the final whistle as well as after.

  • Comment number 28.

    John wrote: "The All Blacks are a very, very good rugby team. The trouble is that, at times, their antics on the pitch make them easy to dislike."

    I agree that the ABs have some very exciting players in their ranks but any team that relies on systemic cheating to avoid losing is not a very good team.

    I watched their performance against South Africa, the one that PdV complained about, and they cheated more often than not. The referee appeared not to have the guts to penalise them because they have a very mouthy number 7.

    I also watched the highlights of their game against England and whilst they did not appear to cheat as much as they did against SA they were still guilty of slowing England's ball and getting away with it. McCaw should have been binned straight after their first yellow but, again, the referee bottled it.

    Verdict for Saturday? New Zealand All Black by a country mile.

  • Comment number 29.

    It would be BRILLIANT and a good performance to see some TRIES from Scotland V NZ and SA
    Before the game in Murrayfield 2 years ago, the press said this year we have a good chance V NZ because they'll put a 2nd string on the pitch.
    I was there, The All Blacks do not have a weak team, never, never...
    Anyway, even in the pro game, I still believe for a miracle in a Rugby game.
    I'm french, and remember the game in the WC, when our wee Dominici beating the big Jona with flair!
    I'll be shouting for Scotland, and my wife (Glaswegian) will be fed up again, not about the score, about my madness for Scotland.

  • Comment number 30.



    I think we can win.

    Some people do talk pish, as ably demonstrated in some needlessly sarcastic posts above but John, I sincerely believe Scotland have the belief, capability and capacity to win against any team, including the All Blacks. I've always been optimistic about Scottish Rugby, sometimes unrealistically so - a bit like Kenny Logan - but now I feel it's finally justified.

    It's 15 men against 15 men. It's straight forward. Each player is a professional athlete who plays the sport all year round, full time. The margins of difference between each are minimal. What is important is motivation, confidence and comradeship which - under Andy Robinson - we're building to a peak not seen in years.

    Off the back of winning in Dublin and twice in Argentina, the strengths of the Glasgow and Edinburgh boys, the quality of the Scotland exiles and the stewardship of Robinson; all combined, I'm putting £20 on Scotland to beat NZ and £10 on them to win all three Autumn tests.


    Money where my mouth (fingers) is (are).

  • Comment number 31.

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  • Comment number 32.

    Gamesmanship and tactics and winning ways of loose forwards comments coming from J Beattie esq ring as hollowly as Brian Moore carping on about fair play,fisticuffs and a bit of argy bargy. Pot and Kettle here John.

    You gave a good analysis of why NZ will win on Saturday.

    Scotland wont win against NZ until they go far more the way of the Irish, Welsh and even the English of late in getting their diaspora identified, recruited and invested in from aged 20. Dont get old warhorses out to earn a pension, or players just not good enough for super 12/14/15 whatever- go for the best players, coaches, physios and administrators. Blend these guys with Scotlands own talent and then who knows? A Shontayne Hape or Rikki Fluti another Nathan Hinds or Ian Gough all recruited when they were young enough to grow their game within a Scottish framework is my way forward. All sport is now professional, mercenary and favors those who can run sports businesses. Scotlands natural athletes are statistically much more likely to be interested in football. More icons of the game making a bit more dosh than a mid ranked SFL professional soccer player wouldnt hurt the cause either.

    NZ's and Australia's game has gone down slightly or stayed about the same since professionalism came in. England and Ireland have risen hugely in results on the field and commercial success.

    A reality in world Rugby is Australia has Rugby union as only its 5th winter sport (after netball). How would they do if all their league and AFL players turned their eye to Rugby Union? England have more rugby referees registered than Scotland have players. Scotland could win against NZ/Oz/RSA with real professionalism and investment going forward.

    Nationalistic fervour and emotionalism will be agianst my thinking. England showed a bit of how it could be on saturday. They very nearly won! Not that they are comlete All Black defeating virgins like Scotland but on recent form it was a seriously good effort by them. The NZ heads were dropping and they were on the ropes.

    You dont hear many Englishmen going on about Oz/NZ poaching from the pacific Islands lately. The reason of course is they are at it themselves! Hape and Toeava - two Samoans and a small percentage of a rainforest used up in print media talking about was he in, was it a penalty try. No one has said neither of them were born in the country they were playing for.

    You are ever the sporting gentleman John, after giving a dig you comment on the good side of the All Blacks and their sportsmanship after the game. Your well published dislike of the Haka I am sure is something that would have been wiped out if just once you beat the beggars after having to face it.

    I will cheer either Haka at Murrayfield on Saturday as I watch the best team in world rugby history play my home team. My imagination will linger on what if I was good enough to have played in such a fixture in my long distant youth when my love for the game and my aspiration didnt match my ability. If I was invited to play for another country back then would I have chosen to? Probably. I have some Icelandic, Italian Belgian forebears. Do they aspire to play Rugby? You did, didnt you John. The Borneo 1st XV arent much chop from what I read.

    Here's to a great game.

  • Comment number 33.

    oops, just gone on New Zealand radio to explain myself

    Dave - I hope you are right!

    Hugues, great to read you being so passionate

    Philip - I am not sure they cheat systematically, they are just annoying with some of the things they do. Their technique is brilliant whether it is about getting hands on ball or low rucking or whatever, I just wish RIchie McCaw, such a fantastic player, would not try to get the ref to penalise the opposition.

    Rodders 1515 - it will be a great match

    Captainmidnight - yes, that's the target isn't it, legendary status for a team if it beats the All Blacks.

    pgmole - I like funny feelings, in fact I feel a bit funny at the moment.

    Wingmanmike from Aberdeen, I think I know the team, you appear to have two players included who won't be starting

    George Carlin - I guess if you say what you think then you annoy people, but I do think the All Blacks, for all their glory, let the game down - and I grew up with All Blacks as my heroes. I'm like you, I think there is a sniff of a chance.

    Silver hooker, 50? The All Blacks raised their game for England after losing to Oz - but I agree, they are special players.

    KOP - the new Haka is the usual pretence at history wrapped up in nonsense with a throat slitting movement that you might indeed describe as "the ancient Maori king had a quick shave before breakfast" but we all know that looking at it from across the pitch it looks like throat slitting. The team facing it should be allowed to walk across the pitch and have a giggle.

    ScrapbankofEngland - two wrong in your team I think

    Aslongasa100ofusarealive - anything is possible, that indeed is what I keep telling my wife.

    Rohan NZ - yes, which All Blacks team will turn up I wonder? Ach, you can't predict sport, all All Black players are good.

    p and 161gunner - nope, I think the All Blacks in their way are one of the game's big selling points. Great image, black jersey, small country doing great things, flashing play, passion, power, the lot. Just some of the bad stuff is nonsense. I repeat, my heroes were All Blacks, Colin Meads, Fitzpatrick, etc. The day Haden and Oliver jumped out the lineout in Wales to win a game when they hadn't been touched started a theme in All Black rugby which goes on today.

    Pulse rate starting to rise just thinking about the game, bad sign. Might be no sleep for a week. JB

  • Comment number 34.

    Richardo, bet you the Borneo team could beat Iceland and Belgium team combined, just wait till we got you all in the jungle, and anyway there are well defined rules as to who can play for Scotland.

  • Comment number 35.

    As a neutral when it comes to following this fine game, I find it amazing that Keven Mealamu is being cited for what he did but Dylan Hartley doesn't get cited for his cheap shot on the Kiwi No 7, I guess Hartley was just following the example set by his skipper earlier in the game. I look forward to great game of rugby in Scotland. JB, wake up and smell the roses, those teams from down under just do it better, I really do wish you jurno's would stop being one eyed.

  • Comment number 36.

    Surely all great rugby teams cheat a little bit? It is the competitive drive that causes them to bend and break the rules in pursuit of victory. It's a bit 'one-eyed' to criticise the All Blacks for their antics when we have just inducted the great Finlay Calder into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame; who along with his back row partners Derek White and John Jeffrey had a liberal interpretation of the offside line and a good understanding of the dark arts that can edge a game in your favour.

  • Comment number 37.

    How do John. Good article evoking loads of discussion. Just moved to NZ from Edinburgh. I played rugby in Scotland and one of my biggest regrets is that I never got to face a Haka. I cant imagine anything better for getting you up for a game! I know there is a school of thought that says it allows the ABs a chance to outpsyche the opposition but I think it would be amazing to face to such a challenge. Personally I think we will put up a good show on sat but ultimately come up short due to a lack of cutting edge (same old?) Also with regard to the cheating chat: Is it cheating if you get away with it and isn't it part of the game nowadays from internationals down to your old boys at West to see what you can get away with? All teams seem to do it as well as asking the ref to penalise the opposition. Have you not heard Rocky Elsom's whining picked up on the refs mic before? Anyway, rant over. Cant wait for the game now!

  • Comment number 38.

    New Zealand are lucky to have pacific Islanders in there teams the choice of so many gifted players from all these little islands would be great for any team. They have one chance in life mostly its Rugby, I lived in NZ for 11 years we spoke about Scotland some Kiwis feel some passed games between these two nations to have been great matches 1963 it was 0-0 I was amazed but the history books tell you. 1972 3-3 1993 however is a black day for NZ rugby you only need to read Gavin Hastins book he states with Scotland leading the All blacks in NZ and the ref adding 5 minutes injury time when there should have been none, the giving NZ a penalty kick that gave them a draw, the Scottish team should be told of this injustice let them go out and do the country proud man for man we can push the all blacks for a win to Scotland look at France they have the passion so can we go Scotland enter the history books for the good of Scottish Rugby/////Oh Flower of Scotland when will we beat the All Blacks

  • Comment number 39.

    We shall see.

  • Comment number 40.

    JB, honestly pal sometimes i think you'd have to many sherberts when you put pen to paper....

    "Oh, and thank goodness they performed their old Haka before the England game, as the new one is an insult"

    Course they're slitting throats, it's a war dance!! Ohhh, unless you think it's gonna encourage drunk teenagers to start slitting each others throats after too many white lightning. Ah right ok. Best ring the PC brigade then...and on that note JB, you weren't the one who tried to banned kids from using conkers without goggles were you?? if so shame on you!

    as for the the scots beating NZ, less than zero chance. we all know it's not gonna happen. you know, i know, the scotland team know.

    if you get within 15 give yoursleves a pat on the back. just please make sure you were safety gloves to prevent back or hand injuries :)

  • Comment number 41.

    AND....the AB's cheating??? Please people, get a grip of yourselves. Also, do you actually whole heartedly believe referees actaully CHEAT and let them off with infringements?? because if the Ab's are cheating and getting away with it then it must be the referees!! Or maybe, and folks i'm just thinking outside the box here, the AB's are better at rugby than everyone else and can do things no other teams can do? the reason no other 7 in the world can do what Mccaw does is becasue he's cleverer, fitter, faster, harder, more aggressive, more skillful than any other player. End of

  • Comment number 42.

    "1993 however is a black day for NZ rugby you only need to read Gavin Hastins book he states with Scotland leading the All blacks in NZ and the ref adding 5 minutes injury"

    The ABs played Scotland only once in 1993 and won 51-15. If you are talking about the 1990 match at Eden Park won 21-18 by the ABs the match was refereed by Derek Bvan a fine Welsh referee. Ho can this be a balck day for NZ rugby? The game was fairly won with a neutral referee keeping time.

  • Comment number 43.

    "New Zealand are lucky to have pacific Islanders in there teams the choice of so many gifted players from all these little islands would be great for any team."

    Such hypocrisy. The Pacific Islandrs who paly in the NZ team are New Zealanders. They are the children of immigrants. Why is it so hard to get this into the skulls of people in Britain; a land whose sports teams are equally full of the kids of immigrants.

    Coming I assume from a Scotsman whose rugby team has taken players straight off planes to bolster its ranks is indeed an insult.

    Please don't revert to such cheap shots!

  • Comment number 44.

    "The reason of course is they are at it themselves! Hape and Toeava - two Samoans and a small percentage of a rainforest used up in print media talking about was he in, was it a penalty try."

    Hape is of Maori descent. Toeava was botn in Samoa but came to Auckland when he was 7 years old and lived with his grandmother, Fololina in South Auckland.

    He has played rugby since he was 10, but like Hape also played league - he was a standoff for the Papatoetoe Panthers league club. He went to De La Salle College in Auckland and made the New Zealand under 17s.

  • Comment number 45.

    Oh no John? Just take a look at this

    One example of where "they are just annoying with some of the things they do."

  • Comment number 46.

    "they are just annoying with some of the things they do."

    You mean always beating Scotland, Ireland, Wales and generally England??? Most inconvinient indeed.

    Perhaps the NZ infantry can teach us something about the AB's success. Reputably the best trained allied troops in the Second World War (see Max Hasting's Finest years and Anthony Beavor's Crete)the troops were savvy, adpatable, applied large amounts of common sense and were in general skilled fighters who based their efforts around high levels of team unity and flat leadership structures. Markedly different to British ways of doing things and indeed one can draw comparions with the battle on the rugby pitch.

  • Comment number 47.

    Come on Mr Beattie, you can't say you think you know the team and not share it with us...!! :0)

  • Comment number 48.

    Actually just looked up the team on the SRU website. So ignore last post.
    For all others who are interested:

  • Comment number 49.

    Team is on Scottish rugby website.
    Exactly as predicted by Sunday Papers
    Rennie on bench!

  • Comment number 50.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 51.

    Of course we can! Furthermore if the SRU made sure every seat at Murrayfield come Saturday evening was filled, and we as a nation started really believing we could do it, there would be an even greater chance this might happen! And with this, perhaps there might exist in Scotland almost as much pride in pulling on the Scottish Jersey as The Kiwis have in being awarded theirs!

    The population of New Zealand is a little more than 4 million. At the last census we were over 5 million. Why should we not be on a level playing field? And before anyone wants to point out that Rugby is like religion in New Zealand, and as such the only Sport that matters, I offer the following;- they happen to be the reigning World Cup holders in Rugby League, have world class Rowers, Triathletes, and Golfers, a Cricket Team which competes every year against the top nations in Test Matches, and last but not least...they even had a Football team at this summer's World Cup Finals!

    Where we are possibly at a disadvanatge is our match fitness. Saturday will be the first time our boys have played together in a Test since the summer tour to Argentina. Between late June and mid September The Blacks on the other hand have had 4 or 5 Tri Nations contests against Australia & South Africa, not to mention hosting those northern hemishere nations who toured NZ in June & July. They then played their old enemy Australia in Hong Kong 7 days before visiting Twickenham last Saturday, a match incidentally The Wallabies won 26 - 24 (first time the Aussies have beaten their Tasman cousins in 8 attempts)!

    Those of us who watched The Eng vs AB's match at Twickenham would likely agree NZ were the better side. However they could easily have of their tries was a 50 50 call, and looked like it shouldn't have been awarded, while one of England's was disallowed, but looked like it should have been allowed. Reverse the two scores and England would have won, despite clearly being the inferior team. Scotland can beat England and any other 6 Nation side. Scotland beat Australia last November at Murrayfield, and Australia beat New Zealand 10 days ago. We may not be as good a team as The All Blacks, but let's believe we can beat them.... the better team does not always win on the day!

  • Comment number 52.

    Stuart after all the negativity it is nice to read an objective submission. In seems that every autumn many are only too keen to turn the All Blacks and all their supporters into three-headed monsters.

    Re sporting success you might add yachting. New Zealanders three highest paid sportsmen are in fact yachtsman (all reported to be earning in excess of $10m a year). We also have a basketball team ( a truly global sport) that has been ranked as high as 4th in the world and certainly it its ranking is always above GB. Our hockey team also beat England to take the Commonwealth bronze.

  • Comment number 53.

    Sorry to disappoint, Stuart, but in New Zealand there are only two team ball sports, rugby and cricket. In Scotland we this daft notion that we can play fitba'.

    The nearest we've come to beating the All Blacks in recent years was a 25-25 draw way back when I was a lad.

    Just because we beat Australia last year and they beat the ABs this year doesn't mean that the ABs are a bad side.

    As for them having a team at the soccer World Cup, they qualified from a group that Scotland could even have qualified from.

    On a more positive note, Scotland can beat New Zealand on Saturday but only if the ref calls what is in front of him and not the expected result. That means that Dave Pearson had better have his yellow card ready for R McC before the start of the game, and have the b**ls to use it.

  • Comment number 54.

    "Sorry to disappoint, Stuart, but in New Zealand there are only two team ball sports, rugby and cricket"

    Please don't repeat this nonsense. Soccer is massive game in NZ with considerably higher number of registered players than rugby. The Wellington professional team, the Phoenix, gets bigger crowds than the Hurricanes. Hockey is very popular also and strong rugby league enclaves exist in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and West Coast, South Island. And as I said basketball is extremely popular with NZ current ranking of 12th in the world. New Zealand teams have just won three golds, three silvers and four bronzes at the World Rowing Champs.

  • Comment number 55.

    FIFA world football rankings

    New Zealand 51st
    Scotland 57th
    Wales 104th

  • Comment number 56.

    fallingTP, in case you hadn't noticed, I just did and you fell for it. Doh!

  • Comment number 57.

    To be fair Philip, I think you'll find that Rugby League has been getting an increasingly sizeable following down there in recent years, so I'd definitely say it's at least 3 ball sports they are good at. And as Falling TP correctly reminded me, New Zealand have copious numbers of top Yachtsman to add to thir crop of World Class athletes across numerous disciplines.

    For me the key thing is the self belief, and the will to win. I would like to see more of that from within Scotland. If Sport generally & Sport Science in particular had been promoted and encouraged at schools and grass roots levels in a more determined and focused manner in the past up here, we would not be having this debate.

    As for the suggestion I was implying this AB squad is not a good one that is not the case. On the contrary it is an extremely good one, evidenced by the fact they are current Tri Nations Champions. All that reaally matters though to Graham Henry and the ALL Blacks machine is winning the cup that has to date unbelievably eluded them every 4 years, and which will in 2011 be competed for on their home soil. The 22 guys who front up at Murrayfield on Saturday will almost certainly be an experimental side. I wouldn't be so disresptful as to say it might be their "B" Team, for they have so much strength in depth. But it will be players that are being experimented with,& tested ahead of the World Cup next year - more likely the 'Possibles' as opposed to 'The Probables'. As a consequence of this, as well as the fact we ARE a good team, I truly & sincerely believe we can win! Let's also hope a northern hemisphere referee is in charge of the game.

  • Comment number 58.

    "fallingTP, in case you hadn't noticed, I just did and you fell for it. Doh"

    Oh I see it was wit. How funny; you really are a card.

  • Comment number 59.

    "The 22 guys who front up at Murrayfield on Saturday will almost certainly be an experimental side. I wouldn't be so disresptful as to say it might be their "B" Team "

    Can't see that they will take this chance.

    15. Mils
    14. Corey Jane (if fit)
    13. Smith
    12. SBW
    11. Gear
    10. Carter/Donald (ouch)
    9. Alby M.
    8. Read
    7. Braid
    6. Kaino
    5. Whitelock
    4. Donelley
    3. Afoa
    2. Elliot
    1. Woodcock

  • Comment number 60.

    I thought that the highest paid New Zealand sportsman was Tiger Woods' caddie!!

    Although recently I'm sure he'll have had a wee bit 'o a wage cut!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Comparing New Zealand and Scotland is very interesting. New Zealand has at its core a sporting philosophy, with boys, girls, men and women proud to take part in sport. Scotland's physical activity task force set, as its 20 year aim, a target of 50% of its adults being active. New Zealand's target was 80%.

    Scotland's sporting participation rates are not great.

    I like New Zealand, I like the attitude of most New Zealand people I have met, it's a great country with a great sporting heritage.

    But come Saturday it's 15 on 15.

  • Comment number 62.

    J.B.- I agree wholeheartedly with most of what you have said, and refer you to the second paragraph of my missive of 5.04 PM today. Not good enough in my book though for us to accept a 50% participation rate in Sport. Why should New Zealanders and Scots be so different in this regard? The two countries bear extremely similar climates, landscapes, and population mass.

    We need to invoke more pride and self belief in ourselves, and get more folk involved in sport long term. Short term let's all get behind the team for Saturday & will them to victory. Also let's prey Jonathan Kaplan is not the Referee in charge. As you say, come kick off, it's 15 vs 15!! COME ON SCOTLAND!!!!!

  • Comment number 63.

    I thought that the highest paid New Zealand sportsman was Tiger Woods' caddie!!

    It's a myth and always has been. He has never been in the top 5.

  • Comment number 64.

    "The two countries bear extremely similar climates"

    Stuart you are of course joking. Gee I've lived in Aberdeen and it's climatically on a different planet to where I grew up.

  • Comment number 65.

    Stuart, physical activity is walking half an hour a day briskly.

    It's not sport.

    In terms of sport participation our rates are probably, as a percentage of the population, around 10 percent or less. Sport participation in Scotland is counted as: once a month, no matter how casually, in the most popular time of the year for that sport. So, a mother takes her child for a swim in July they are counted as two swimmers.

    Will go and do some research. JB

  • Comment number 66.

    JB - I never had any of the natural talent you did. However I developed the confidence to give it a go and get stuck in at a young age. I won't pretend to be anywhere near a great athlete - never was. However I did play for my School & Uni 1st XV's, did Captain my school in Skiiing, Cross Country Running, and Athletics. Even managed to attain a Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medal respectively at the 76, 77, and 78 Schools Athletics Championships at Scotstoun & Pitreavie. None of this would have been possible if somewhere down the track, I hadn't been given the inspiration and encouragement to get involved. The spin off effects have instilled in me an enthusiasm to continue (even today in my early 50's) to regulary participate in Golf & Skiing to a respectable standard, as well as spend at least 40 minutes a day, 4 - 6 times a week doing fairly rigorous aerobic activity. If I (of all people) could have achieved this, so can millions of other Scots in years to come.

    Lastly to Falling IP - I was more referring to the fact it rains alot in both countries. I accept the Aberdeen climate can be bitterly cold in winter. However I've been to Queenstown, Dunedin, Invercargill & surrounding areas of The South Island in the Kiwi winter, and I don't recall it being much warmer than the North East of Scotland on the occasions I visied.

  • Comment number 67.

    It can be done, and it has: Dausautoir and Jauzion read the NZ game plan in the last world cup and tackled them to a standstill. They'll come on in the same old way and they'll win if they're not stopped in the same old way. We all know what NZ will try to do: Nonu and Williams will smash up the middle, Read will smash off the back, Kaino will stand off and smash up the fly-half channel, and periodically McCaw will turn up on the wing ready to smash through - classic subdue and penetrate stuff. No secret formula, no cunning tricks, all very up-front. There's a catch, of course: it could only be stopped by Dusautoir and Jauzion at a brisk physical price, and each of the other thirteen French players gave his all, and some change, too. Do the Scots have fifteen players ready to do that from the outset, and seven more to replace the fallen? If they do, there will be a contest. If not, the NZ procession to the world cup will continue triumphantly. Here's the bottom line: they're very, very hard to match in the fire and brimstone department.

  • Comment number 68.

    Ouch! Just seen the NZ team announcement. Oh well, please read my posting 67 mutato mutandis.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Just read this on All Blacks website
    McCaw took advantage of his opposite number Lewis Moody being down receiving treatment, and approached Poite to put forward a case that the home team was binding at the scrum incorrectly.

    Poite repeated a well worn referee's mantra that he could only penalise what he could see, but moments later the Frenchman was seen talking to England tighthead Dan Cole, demonstrating with a few arm movements the 'art of binding' it seemed, almost as if the subconscious remark from McCaw had become fact.

    The All Blacks captain also did the same when he was struck by Dylan Hartley.

    Although Keven Mealamu had allegedly committed the first offence with a incident with Lewis Moody, McCaw calmly went to Poite and asked if he had seen the English hooker hitting him. Even when knowing that the All Blacks may have transgressed, the New Zealand openside flanker has a manner about him which makes referees listen.

  • Comment number 71.

    D.P.from 7.55 AM - that's good ol Richie McCaw for you- he's a true campagner, and know's how to work the system to his team's advantage & the other team's detriment.

    Good points raised also by Segnes at 1.55 AM. And so there we have it...another team (France) who we know we can beat having got the better of The All Blacks!!!

  • Comment number 72.

    As a Scot I'm actually quite embarrassed at some of the whinging by Scots fans throughout this blog. John your article almost resembles some of the dross that Stephen Jones of the Times produces... on the few occasion that Scotland have managed success has been down to using street smart tactics from the likes of Finlay Calder, John Jeffries, David Sole and yes yourslef. But hey John suppose he who pays the piper calls the tune so the train of your article is of no surprise. Just a pity as a well respected former Scots Test player you would have taken the moral high ground and not shown your contempt.
    Like many Scots rugby fans I will be cheering our guys on, but no matter what the result on Saturday I intend to refrain from dropping down the level that has been displayed by some English fans on these boards.

  • Comment number 73.

    The Scotland NZ comparisons are interesting, but the only one that really concerns Saturdays game are the numbers playing rugby union and the resourses available. In this regard we should not be on the same pitch as the ABs (or most of the other nations for that matter).

    But we are. And if we remain competetive for 80mins, we should give ourselves a pat on the back. I actually think we will.

    DEFENCE. Scotland, while lacking a cutting edge, are capable of massive defencive efforts at times. If we defend like that on Sat, you never know.

  • Comment number 74.

    "However I've been to Queenstown, Dunedin, Invercargill & surrounding areas of The South Island in the Kiwi winter"

    Suart the average annual temperature in Dunedin is the same as London. Average winter temps are higher in every major city in NZ than in any part of the UK. This is one of the reasons why we are so sporting - our winters are benign and kids go outside. My kids here spend most of winter in front of the fire.

  • Comment number 75.

    Sorry TP... can't buy into either argument. Another country I've spent a good amount of time is Canada. Canadian children don't spend the winters in front of the fire. If they are not outdoors on the ice rink Skating or playing Ice Hockey, they are out on the snow, Sledging, Skiiing, and Snowboarding - mostly in temps ranging from minus 20 to minus 40 degrees centigrade. While it may get cold in The Granite City, it's rarely if ever so cold in the central belt of this country. Not a credible excuse I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 76.

    Stuart its not an excuse. It what makes kids want to go oustide (i.e. if the weather is benign in winter). Where I grew up most mid-winter days were 15-16C. Surely I'm incentivised thus to get out and kick a rugby ball around more than if I'm say in Aberdeen where it might be 4-5C?

  • Comment number 77.

    Sco v NZ: NZ to win by 20 or more
    Wal v SA: SA to win by 5 or more... 1995, 2007 & 2011 World Cup winners
    Eng v Aus: Hurts even to say it, but Eng to win by 5 or more

  • Comment number 78.

    No 76 - "incentivised thus"


  • Comment number 79.

    T.P. - Sorry mate but however low the temps are, one doesn't feel that cold when running round chasing a ball (whatever it's shape). I went to schhool in the Highlands, and the only days we were excused Rugby practice were Matchdays & Sundays. On days the pitches were covered in snow (a frequent occurence during some of the winters), we were taught to play Aussie Rules Football (of all Sports), by one of the coaches who just happenned to be (of all nationalities) a Kiwi!

  • Comment number 80.

    Stuart fair enough. Anyone brave enough to play Aussie Rules under the direction of a kiwi in the middle of a highland winter has my total respect.

  • Comment number 81.

    John said it, on sat it will be 15 vs 15

    I'm not going to get involved with the debate on haka's or cheating or anything else that at the end of the day is an opinion.

    I'm going to look at head to head, what are the maths (according to my optinion and thoughts on current form) of how things can pan out on sat

    Ok, I cannot find a NZ team sheet so going to pinch one that is likely form a post above. I am then going to add the Scottish side and compare (NZ score then Scottish score)

    15. Mils Vs Southwell - Even 50/50
    14. Corey Jane vs Rory lamont - Even 50/50
    13. Smith Vs Evans - Even 50/50
    12. SBW Vs Morrison - NZ win 70/30
    11. Gear Vs Sean Lamont - Nz win 70/30
    10. Donald Vs Parks - Sco win 40/60
    9. Alby M. Vs Blair - Sco win 40/60
    8. Read vs Vernon - NZ win 60/40
    7. Braid vs Barclay - Sco win 30/70
    6. Kaino vs brown - Sco win 40/60
    5. Whitelock vs Hamilton - NZ win 60/40
    4. Donelley vs Gray - NZ win 60/40
    3. Afoa vs Murray - Sco win 40/60
    2. Elliot vs Ford - Sco win 70/40
    1. Woodcock vs Jacobson NZ win 55/45 (sorry chuck, he just pips you)

    on paper, NZ win 785 to 735, with NZ backs beating the scottish backs but the forwards are a closer battle.

    As such, using my messed up logic, NZ are a better team that scotland by only 6.3%

    If NZ go into the game and only play to 90% of their abilities and Scotland play to 100% of thiers, the Scotland win!

    Ok, so it's totally grey science but it shows that nothing is impossible, Scotland can win on Sat, but they need to play well. Simple as

  • Comment number 82.

    Seems like McCaw will play. His 92 cap to equal Fitzpatrick as with Mils.Think they are aiming to share the hunour. Donald as high as 40. Generous. NZ team will be tomorrow I think. Suppose 6% margins are enough and yes Scotland can win but as you say will need to get game going quickly and effectively disrupt AB ball otherwise might get done by pace of match.

  • Comment number 83.

    All Balcks haven't weakened their side for Saturday. Actually looks better balanced in my view

    Mils Muliaina, Isaia Toeava, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Hosea Gear, Daniel Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Hika Elliot/Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Andrew Hore, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Daniel Braid, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Ma'a Nonu.

  • Comment number 84.

    Mr TP

    I gave Donald 40 as the game play parks employs (kicking game) is the last thign you want to do against NZ. Giving them the ball is the last thing you want to do!

    Besides, Carter seems to be getting the run out so things have been made that more difficult.

    Scotland can still do it, but they'll need to keep hold of the ball to stand a chance

  • Comment number 85.

    Comments on AB's website - their fans reckon that it'll be at least a 30 point margin with this team - quoting one of them here

    "I would think, may be a good old syle shelaking is in the offering here, Yup A.B,s by 30+"

    We don't need any more motivation than that.

  • Comment number 86.

    Whoever Graham Henry decided to start with, was always going to be a strong side. However if Parks' boot is on song, and the other 14 on the park punch above their weight, a few folk might well be surprised with the outcome. Also might well depend on whom the IRB put in charge of the game. Fingers gently crossed, and vocal cords at the ready!

  • Comment number 87.

    Yes, Stuart - vocal cords at ready! If we make as much noise as we did against the Wallabies last year it will be an imposing atmosphere.

    What about the Haka? Have you read Andy Robinson's comments? Very good I think. How about the team applauding it too? I did think about turning the floodlights off for it - that would probably make it worse though!

    Looking forward to it massively.

  • Comment number 88.

    To Dodgy Kneees at 1.05 PM-

    Haven't read Robbo's comments but personally I'm a fan of The Haka. That said I definitely do not like the new derivation i.e. one where they do the mock throat slitting. For me that's totally unnecessary, though fortunately they don't seem to perform it often.

    I saw footage about a year ago which one of the Aussie TV Channels put together of the way they performed The Haka 25 - 30 years ago alongside today's version. The contrast couldn't have been be more marked;- for starters the team back then didn't appear to have any Maori's or Islanders in it, and it was performed in a very namby pamby, almost feminate way. Then the footage was shown of today's version....very imposing, forceful, and intense!

    Interesting thought about applauding it.... would certainly stand as well above other nations. I never forget the time at Twickenham about 10 - 15 years ago when one of the English Props (cam't recall his name but he coaches Leicester now) took it upon himself and marched up nose to nose with his opposite number, giving him lots of lip whilst the Haka was being performed!!

  • Comment number 89.

    "Can Scotland beat the All Blacks for the first time?"

    I've got a good feeling about this one.

    Last week, following the England vs. New Zealand game, I said to an English friend, when asked about Scotland's chances versus the same side, I responded "I think we're going to win!" He gave me a double-take and said "Really!!!!". I said, "Yes, really!"

    He then said, "Come on then, I'll buy you a pint."

  • Comment number 90.

    JB, great blog. My mates and I have been debating this for ages. Personally I think if all the players get it into their heads early that thay can beat these guys and play the game 100% to their own ability, I think they can win. Scotland has always been the kind of team that could beat anyone on the day. Lets just hope Saturday is our day.........

  • Comment number 91.

    Let's face it. Scotland scored less tries than any other team in the last 6 Nations and during the past few years with Dan Parks in the leadership stand off role. In todays Herald Kevin Ferrie, the well known apologist and propogandist for Dan Parks, showed the telling statistics of Scotland's pathetic ability to score tries over the last few years along with an implication that Gregor Townsend is the responsible party. Let's get real. Leadership on the pitch is the real issue and that is undoubtedly an indictment of the limited playmaking abilities of Dan Parks. Last season we had the outstanding back row in the Championship and they were providing Parks with armchair rugby both for Glasgow and Scotland. Yet, time and again, he threw away the potential for winning matches with his pathetic decision making. Witness kicking the ball 5 yards from the English line with an overlap a begging and similarly failing to expoit overlaps against Italy. Sure, he kicked the penalties which led to us scraping through against an error prone ireland, but just review our record these past few years ; fewer line breaks than any other nation and fewer tries. Our forwards scored more tries than our backs last season. Parks simply lacks the ability to lead an up tempo line and to convert possession into tries. His habitual instinct, after kicking away possession, is to shovel the ball sideways, and never keeping the opposing back row honest. He lacks speed ,flair, and indeed courage, to attempt a break, let alone a half break. Jim Telfer is right in saying he is not an International class stand off.It is doubtful he would even find a place in any of the other 6 Nations teams. His Indian summer has come and gone playing behind the Killer Bees. Andy Robinson is forced to pick him right now and surely, knowing Parks's chronic decision making under pressure , he picks Hugo Southwell to play alongside Parks and ride shotgun for him as an auxilliary stand off, with Parks removed from decision making. Let's not kid ourselves. We have an outstanding ball winning team but with Parks at stand off we will continue to be unable to make the line breaks we are lacking. It's true that when the going gets tough,the tough get going, and in Dan Parks we have a stand off who resembles a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights, who may talk a good talk on the field but lacks real substance. His propogandists are gulty of tolerating mediocrity. With Parks we are facing yet another season of inability to score tries. Let's raise our expectations. I understand the options are inexperienced but in the meantime let's stop kidding ourselves. With Parks in place we continue to fool ourselves that we are making progress. Beating an Argentinian team, well past its sell by date and failing to score creative tries, as a follow on from the 6 Nations where our forwards scored more tries than our backs, should not fool us into believing that Parks is key to our success. Let's give youth a chance. The two Glasgow stand offs and Blair from Edinburgh give us options. Let's blood them and have a stand off running with the ball in hand and unafraid to run at the opposition which is something we have lacked during the Parks era. Having lived through the John Rutherford years gives me a sense of what is truly world class stand off play. In comparison, Parks is a pathetic comparison and it's time for us to raise our expectations and move on. p.s. listening to the Welsh media it appears they have clocked already that our boy Dan is a one trick pony and incapable of leading a try scoring backline.

  • Comment number 92.

    To h20 (Comment No 91) - AKA- THE FULLY PAID UP MEMBER OF THE DAN PARKS FAN CLUB..... I can't quite fathom out which chip is bigger;- the one on your left shoulder, or the one on the right. However I politey & respectfully suggest you consider riding that high horse of yours over to the offices of the SRU first thing on Monday morning and apply for Andy Robinson's job. Clearly you are far more able, & have a much better pedigree than he,and his entire coaching staff combined!!

    In the meantime you can watch and listen to the rest of us channeling all our postive energy into cheering our boys on come Saturday evening.

    Ta ra mate... good luck & god bless.

  • Comment number 93.

    Ref H20's comments, made me smile on a dreich Friday. As mainly football guy who also like's Rugby a lot but does not know much about the tactics, it's heartening to read Rugby also has it's fair share of what we call "Championship Managers"!

    I like to think, like in all team sports it's over to the managers/coaches to set up the teams and then the players to attempt to deliver.

    What next Rugby "phone- ins"!!! Beware they're on the way, if not here already!?

  • Comment number 94.


    It was the influence of Buck Shelford re Haka. His approach was "that if we going to do it we are going to do it properly". I agree entirely with his stand. As it was preformed in say the 1970s it was tokenistic.

    Good luck to Scotland. I hope you do well (alhtough abviously not too weel)and if the Abs were to get beaten by anyone on this tour may it be you guys.

  • Comment number 95.

    I completely agree with h2o. His criticism is constructive, analytical and entirely accurate.

    H2o, my heart also sank when I saw Parks name on the team sheet, he is definitely the problem and not the solution. However what I would say is that, hopefully Parks is only in to do a job against the ABs, for damage limitation as we are at the beginning of our international season and we need the rest of the team to get up to international speed before blooding one of our younger stand offs.

    Parks is unfortunately a product of the Hadden period, and unfortaunely we are still suffering from his legacy. I believe Robinson is the man for the job and he is creating a formidable force up front. I can only hope that he is building to slot in a new stand off for the next game once the team is up to speed.

    I remember John Beattie a couple of seasons ago advocating Patterson to be played purely at stand off. Scotland not taking this advice was the single biggest mistake in recent years. It would have ignited our back line. With a running stand off your attacking threat out wide goes up exponentially. However what is often unnoticed or understood is how much the inside centre should be calling the shots. He is the one who can see the gaps opening up for the stand off. It is no surprise that when Townsend had John Leslie behind him the gaps opened up in front. Or when Wilkinson had Greenwood behind him, Wilkinson was the best player in the World at the time. Cooper has Giteau controlling from behind and calling the shots. Maa Nonu has become a hard running, controlling distributer and look how the ABs are doing. The key is: the gaps open up in front because of the support from behind.

    This is why New Zealand and Australia attack so well because all the guys behind are constantly talking to the gives in front. They also run hard, and off load knowing that the support will be there. If the ball carrier knows where his support is he can then look forward and see where the gaps are. That is why Leslie was so good for Townsend in 1999. Parks and Morrison can’t offer us this. Parks isn’t entirely to balme because Morrision should be giving him more guidance from behind. Morrison’s place should be under scrutiny. He is a big boy but doesn’t offer enough control.

    You can take or leave my advice, but look at the supporting runners of the All Blacks running lines. They run in anticipation of the ball carrier breaking through, this opens the gap for the ball carrier and then they support the ball carrier with a short line. This short line make the pass easy at high speed and it is also where the gap is as that line in the defence has been broken. Their wingers stay wide to keep the defence spread. If you don’t believe, me pause the game when the break the line (and they will) and look at how the supporting players pre-empt the line break. They can pre-empt it because they are the once calling the shots to the guy in front whether to hold or give the ball.

    One last thing. We need to start doing back moves from first phase again. We wouldn’t through a ball into a line out and just hope something will happen so why do we do it with the backs. I suggest you watch Scotland’s 1999 Championship winning video and learn from what they did. It also makes you feel exceedingly proud to be Scottish!

  • Comment number 96.

    I think Messrs mh double m & h20 should ring up the BBC & get Andy Nicol's mobile phone number. Then the 3 of them should go out & have a few jars together, for they clearly have alot of common thoughts they can blether about!

    In all seriousness we've got a major game of Rugby tomorrow, and some folk think it fit to deliver a braoadside & full frontal attack on a bloke who has never given less than 100% while wearing the Scottish jersey, and knows a thing or two about putting points on the board. Sure.. I also watched the Calcutta Cup match to which h20 refered. I too saw the errors to which he alludes to. Rugby players are human beings- we all make mistakes. I also watched the Ireland match which Parks won for us - in Dublin, and in front of a very noisy and boisterous Irish crowd. He also played an instrumental role in us being all over Wales for 71 minutes in Cardiff last February. He was taken off injured at 71 minutes. In the remaining 9 minutes the self destruct button was pressed -Dan Parks was not the one to press it!!!!

    Let's just put the negativity to bed and get behind all 22 guys who will be fronting up tomorrow to face the No 1 Ranked side in the world.

  • Comment number 97.

    The hype is getting to me! Got a ticket at Murrayfield, and hoping that the atmosphere will be buzzing!
    Although orignally pesimistic about our chances, with a massive support, I reckon our boys will be very fired up! I will do my bit, hollering at the top of my voice! Lets (if possible) try and intimidate these Kiwis! :D

  • Comment number 98.

    To Wing Man Mike - Good on ya mate. COME ON SCOTLAND!

  • Comment number 99.

    Ref comment 96: Dan, is that you?

  • Comment number 100.

    I am a Scotsman in Canada yes it is -30-40oC here with 6 months of winter but it is not damp in Canada, and it is the freezing damp, chill factor and darkness that makes Scotland so inhospitable.

    I would rather be in a dry -40oC than a damp 10oC.


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