Can rejuvenated Scots beat the All Blacks?
Kamate, Kamate, Kora, Kora......can Scotland beat the All Blacks for the first time in a hundred years?
I'll get back to that but the predicted articles about Gregor Townsend, the Glasgow Warriors coach, being under pressure are appearing already. He's not actually, athough the entertainment value of the Warriors on Friday night was minimal with a beautiful new stadium contrasting with a game that would have passed an audition for the ugliest sister in Cinderalla. Edinburgh's win though was a beautiful thing and their first in Wales since 2009.
Methinks that Warriors will miss Richie Gray and his power. Having watched the rugby league immediately afterward I wish that rugby union teams would use more passes behind the obvious recipient to help generate width thanks to deception.
Rugby union is becoming far too crash bang (which is for another article) though the games have been improved due to the new scrummage engagement laws. "Crouch, touch, set!" seems to be working.
Back to the main topic and, as the seasons change, the leaves start to fall and you can see your breath, it's interesting that as we get under way in the northern hemisphere, the rugby season at the bottom half of the world nears its end. The Championship, as it's called, has the four great powers of southern hemisphere rugby lined up against each other, with Argentina the new team, as the culmination of their year.
New Zealand won 49-3 at Murrayfield in 2010. Pic: SNS
You may want to argue with me all day but in my opinion southern hemisphere players are better than ours. Some of the most valuable players in French, English, Irish and Scottish teams are, actually, Kiwis, South Africans, Aussies, and a host of Samoans, Fijiians and Tongans.
Why this is the case, who really knows? Perhaps it's to do with the fact that, as water goes down a plug hole, it goes clockwise for them and ant-clockwise for us. Or is that myth? But England being the only northern hemisphere team to win the World Cup in 2003 is the evidence of our inferiority.
And you may not like this but I was glad England won.
So the All Blacks come to Murrayfield this November and that, bizarrely, will be their pre-season tour. The All Blacks are the World Cup holders. What a scalp it would be for Scotland.
After the summer tour where the revitalised Scots beat the Aussies, Samoa and Fiji, I think this is the best chance Scotland will ever have to beat a team like the Kiwis.
Reasons to be cheerful? Andy Robinson has become more ruthless. Skills coach Scott Johnson has brought in some basics to do with each part of a game linking with the other. There is a scrummage that can go forward. And, frankly, the team has to prove it can do it at home.
New Zealanders, I would guess, tour the world and expect to win. We have played the All Blacks 28 times since the first game in 1905, and the highlights for us have been two draws. Imagine that, the highlights are two draws. A no scoring draw in 1964 and twenty 25 points a piece in 1983. Both ancient history for you lot reading this, but I was at the game in 1983.
Worryingly, the record is particularly bad in the last five years with three games against the All Blacks in which we have scored 9 points, all kicks, and the All Blacks have put 121 points past us.
This is all useful knowledge with, in the background, the Scottish Rugby's target in the air. Their target for the Scottish rugby team is to win the next World Cup.
Contrasting our two countries is worthwhile. In New Zealand there are 147,000 players. In Scotland the target was to reach around 40,000 by 2012.
While New Zealand won the recent World Cup, Scotland failed to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in history.
And yet, and yet, I feel something happening.
The key, to me, is to get the national team together as often as possible before November. Part of the success of the summer tour was the very fact that the team trained together.
After all, what are Edinburgh and Glasgow for other than to prepare players for Scotland?
I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the season to get its momentum.
If ever Scotland has a chance to beat the All Blacks, it's this November. You agree? Dene te, tanga ta, puhuru, huru....