Gutsy Scots Subdued By New Zealand

Scotland 0 New Zealand 40

Scotland's perfect World Cup pool run came to an end this afternoon at Murrayfield as they lost to New Zealand by 40-0. Despite the nil scoreline, the world's number one team did not have the smoothest of rides, as Scotland rallied in defence and forced them into making errors.

Scotland 0-40 New Zealand

Scotland’s perfect World Cup pool run came to an end this afternoon at Murrayfield as they lost to New Zealand by 40-0.

Despite the nil scoreline, the world’s number one team did not have the smoothest of rides, as Scotland rallied in defence and forced them into making errors.

Speaking after the match, Frank Hadden said: “It was a gutsy performance, with gutsy defence and I’m proud of the guys. We would have liked to have been more accurate with some of our work and to have got off to a better start but I’m proud of the efforts of all the players on pitch today.

“The All Blacks were pretty impressive. They were good at most areas of the game and deserved to win. Scotland have gone down more heavily in the past against New Zealand teams which have not trained together for 16 of the last 18 months.

“We’ll have a look at how the scrummage went but I was really chuffed for Ally Dickinson and John Barclay playing against supposedly the best guys in the world in their position and it is a learning experience which cannot be underestimated.

“When we’ll be judged on how successful we are in this competition won’t be this week. A lot of guys have stuck their hands up for selection and hopefully they’ll get a chance.

The Scotland coach expressed his relief that there were no serious injuries. He said: “Chris Paterson had a poke in the eye. If it was a blood injury, he would have been given 15 minutes off, but it was too risky to have stand off with blurred vision. We’re delighted that we have a team that can practice tomorrow. It’s a huge bonus. We haven’t selected for the Italy game yet but we have so many guys available to us as the medics have done a very good job.

The Scots were under pressure from the start as Dan Carter kicked the ball across to Sitiveni Sivivatu on the left wing from a scrum just outside the Scotland 22, but the winger knocked it on.

The Scots lost possession in the subsequent scrum, and New Zealand were on the attack again, but Hugo Southwell safely touched down the chip ahead. However, the visitors kept up the pressure, and from the scrum Richie McCaw cut inside and dashed behind the posts for the first try of the afternoon. Carter kicked the conversion to put New Zealand ahead 7-0 after five minutes.

Scotland rallied in attack from the restart, setting up Chris Paterson for a drop goal, but his attempt went right of the posts.

The All Blacks were on the move again after a clean take by Ali Williams in a lineout just outside the Scotland 22, and despite several phases, they found no way through the defence. Eventually, their attacking move was ruined by a forward pass.

Scotland made a brief foray into the opposition half, but New Zealand were quick to return to the other half of the field and their intense pressure was rewarded by a second try, scored by Doug Howlett, who found an easy path up the right wing 14 minutes in, breaking Christian Cullen’s New Zealand record of 44 international tries. But Carter missed the conversion.

New Zealand were penalised for not releasing the ball, giving Scotland the chance to move play downfield, but for the second time the penalty kick did not find touch and they were under pressure again as the All Blacks switched play back upfield. But an error was pounced on as Scott MacLeod stole possession, and Scotland had their first real attacking opportunity as the game moved into the second quarter. The ball was moved quickly by Scott Lawson and Dave Callam, but with space ahead of him for a run to the try line Nikki Walker was unable to pick up the bouncing ball cleanly.

Paterson was forced off the field with an eye injury moments later, and he was replaced by Dan Parks.

Carter stretched the All Blacks’ lead after 27 minutes by adding a penalty amid a chorus of booing Kiwi fans.

The Scots showed their best attacking move of the half as the ball was moved downfield quickly, Marcus Di Rollo [pictured] showing pace and making great ground. The forwards worked together to pick and drive, but the scoring opportunity was lost when the ball was knocked on in the 22.

Once again, play returned quickly to the other half, and the Scots’ defensive skills were called into action as Southwell put in a try-saving tackle on Sivivatu. However, scrum half Byron Kelleher found a space and the line on the opposite wing shortly after, and his try made it 20-0, with Carter again missing the wide conversion.

Scotland again showed their inventiveness in attack as they strung together multiple phases, but their handling let them down and a knock-on allowed the opposition to counter. Only a crunching tackle on New Zealand captain McCaw by Chris Cusiter stopped what looked like the build-up to another try, and the score remained 20-0 at the break.

The visitors added to their tally two minutes into the second half as Carter kicked a penalty. They then looked set to add a try as Luke McAlister scorched upfield, and McCaw took the ball on from there. However, the Scots rallied in defence and forced the error as the ball went forward.

Callam then took the ball from the back of the ensing scrum but was tackled immediately and driven back over his own tryline, giving New Zealand another attacking chance five metres short. Scotland were penalised in the subsequent scrum, and McCaw opted to take another: again, it went down. Next time the ball came out cleanly and the All Blacks darted towards the line, but the Scots’ defence held firm and they turned over possession. The Scots forced another error, and they escaped from the danger zone as the opposition was penalised.

However, New Zealand did not lie low for long, and play moved back to within five metres of the tryline again and another scrum. Rodney So’oialo’s dash for the line was firmly stopped by Callam, and when the ball was then chipped through by Carter, Simon Webster beat Howlett to the ball and touched down.

Scotland’s defence was certainly being tested constantly, and the more intense the pressure the more solid it became. But sadly in winning back ball they again had problems in the scrum, giving Carter another opportunity to add points. His penalty kick bounced off the posts and into Howlett’s hands. The ball was moved left and right again and prop Tony Woodcock thought he’d scored his team’s fourth try as he ran through Southwell and over the line, but New Zealand were pulled up for a forward pass so no score. A drive from a scrum minutes later which moved over the line also came to nothing as the ball went forward. Then twice in quick succession New Zealand made two more errors and losing possession.

As the game moved towards the final quarter Frank Hadden brought Fergus Thomson and Rory Lawson off the bench. He had earlier made a change in the front row as Gavin Kerr replaced Craig Smith who later returned to the field for Dickinson. Jim Hamilton and Rob Dewey completed the substitutions.

Given they had the majority of possession and territory, it took New Zealand a long time to score their fourth try, and it was lock Williams through a long stretch in the right hand corner who secured the bonus point.

Scotland sprang into action immediately and put on one of their best attacking displays of the afternoon, pressing hard in the opposition half. But a pass did not quite go to Walker’s hand, and Carter scooped up the loose ball and ran half the length of the pitch to score under the posts. He left himself an easy conversion, which made it 35-0 going into the last 10 minutes of regulation time.

It was not clear who would score, but a long period of play with possession being turned over on both sides looked set to produce something, and it was New Zealand who took the attack to its conclusion. Howlett found a gap in the defence eventually and crossed the line for his second try. Once again Carter found the wide conversion kick was out with his reach.

Deep in injury time, the Scots gave away a penalty, and this time New Zealand opted for a scrum. So’oialo took the ball from the back of the scrum, and little by little the forwards moved to the line, putting the home defence into overdrive. The Scots’ work paid off, and once again the All Blacks knocked on. However, the world number one team had time and one more chance to score, as they spun the ball out wide to the left, but again the ball went forward and the game came to an end, 40-0 in New Zealand’s favour.

It was a baptism of fire for Alasdair Dickinson who was one of two players making his Scotland debut said: “Obviously I’ve run out at Murrayfield before for Edinburgh but the atmosphere and the noise was breathtaking and I’ll never forget it.

“It was a very tough game and I don’t think we’ll play against a better side. It was a great occasion for me. We gave our all out there and put them under pressure but I’m still disappointed with the scoreline. We won’t rest on our laurels and get back on the horse for the must-win game against Italy.”

Scotland’s other debutant John Barclay said: “I won’t forget running out in front of 65,000 people. I was nervous most of the day and was emotional running out to the pitch but that went as soon as the anthems played.

“My first contact took me by surprise just the pace and physicality, but after that I just got on with it. It was a great experience and I’m just disappointed with the result as I don’t like getting beaten by 40 points.”

Centre Andrew Henderson was delighted to be playing in first game since injuring his leg in the test against South Africa last month. He said: “We were up against it as they had a lot of possession and we had to defend so much of the time. There were some good bits but also a lot of mistakes but it was always going to be difficult. We have a short turnaround and we’re now looking forward to Italy.

Scotland return to France tomorrow afternoon ahead of their last pool C match against Italy in St Etienne this coming Saturday, kicking off at 8pm (BST).

Scotland

Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh); Nikki Walker (Ospreys), Marcus Di Rollo (Toulouse), Andrew Henderson (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Webster (Edinburgh); Chris Paterson (Gloucester), Chris Cusiter (Perpignan); Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Scott Lawson (Sale Sharks), Craig Smith (Edinburgh), Scott MacLeod (Llanelli Scarlets), Scott Murray (unattached) CAPTAIN, Kelly Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Dave Callam (Edinburgh), John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors).

Substitutes

Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors) for Lawson (60 mins), Gavin Kerr (Edinburgh) for Smith (50 mins), Smith for Dickinson (70 mins), James Hamilton (Leicester) for MacLeod (73 mins), Allister Hogg (Edinburgh), Rory Lawson (Gloucester) for Cusiter (59mins), Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors) for Paterson 22 mins, Rob Dewey (Ulster) for Henderson 73 mins.

New Zealand

Leon MacDonald; Doug Howlett, Conrad Smith, Luke McAlister, Sitiveni Sivivatu; Dan Carter, Byron Kelleher; Tony Woodcock, Anton Oliver, Carl Hayman, Reuben Thorne,
Ali Williams, Chris Masoe, Rodney So’oialo, Richie McCaw CAPTAIN.

Substitutes

Andrew Hore for Oliver (61 mins), Neemia Tialata for Hayman (65 mins), Chris Jack for Williams (66 mins), Sione Lauaki for McCaw 63 mins), Brendon Leonard for Kelleher (61 mins), Nick Evans for MacDonald (22 mins), Isaia Toeava for Smith (65 mins).

Scorers: Tries - McCaw, Howlett 2, Kelleher, Williams, Carter. Con - Carter 2. Pen - Carter 2
Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Man of the match: Chris Masoe.
Attendance: 64,558