All Blacks blow away the Scots

New Zealand 36 Scotland 12
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The Independent Online
They were brave, bonny Scots at Eden Park, Auckland, yesterday, but they had no answer to the scrummaging power of the All Blacks. New Zealand completed another Test rugby union series win over Scotland, 2- 0, and have now gone 20 internationals without defeat since the countries first played in 1905.

The All Blacks scored five tries to two, but many of the plaudits belong to the Scots. Last week, on a firm surface in Dunedin, they were undone by the back three of Christian Cullen, Jonah Lomu and Jeff Wilson. Lomu was not there yesterday because of a strained medial knee ligament, Wilson left 18 minutes from the end with concussion and Cullen was rendered virtually anonymous by the deplorable conditions.

The rain cascaded, the wind lashed, and it revived memories of the "water polo" Test at Auckland in 1975 when New Zealand won 24-0 as the Scots surrendered to the Big Wet. But there was no surrender from the Scots yesterday. They were quite heroic in their commitment but this time they were undone by the New Zealand front three, anchored by the indestructible skipper Sean Fitzpatrick and propped by the immovable Olo Brown and Craig Dowd.

New Zealand's tries were all the product of superior scrummaging, the first a penalty try after just three minutes after the Scots had creaked and groaned in the first scrum. There was no- thing fancy about the All Black tries. They were all scored by the loose forwards, Josh Kronfeld grabbing his second just before full-time as the Scots tried to run the ball from their own line. "We got scant reward for our efforts but we have to take our chances when we get them," the Scotland coach, Richie Dixon, said.

Scotland took first use of the elements and, while they made most of the play they still trailed 17-7 at half-time. "The All Blacks lifted their game playing into the wind and we just didn't get the rub of the green," the Scottish captain, Rob Wainwright, said.

It is a mark of New Zealanders' affection for the Scots that one of the loudest cheers of the day was reserved for Eric Peters's try two minutes from the end. For Scotland, lock Doddie Weir snaffled several line-out balls, Wainwright was an inspirational leader, scrum-half Gary Armstrong was indomitable, and Rowen Shepherd enhanced his international reputation at full-back. But the two tries Scotland scored were not enough. These days, against the All Blacks, they seldom are.

NEW ZEALAND: Tries Kronfeld 2, Z Brooke, M Jones, penalty try. Conversions Mehrtens 4. Penalties Mehrtens 1.

SCOTLAND: Tries Shepherd, Peters. Conversions Shepherd 1.

New Zealand: C Cullen (Manawatu); J Wilson (Otago), F Bunce (North Harbour), W Little (North Harbour), E Rush (North Harbour); A Mehrtens (Canterbury), J Marshall (Canterbury); C Dowd (Auckland), S Fitzpa- trick (Auckland, capt), O Brown (Auckland), I Jones (North Harbour), R Brooke (Auckland), J Kronfeld (Otago), Z Brooke (Auckland), M Jones (Auckland). Replacements: A Cashmore (Auckland) for Wilson, 62.

Scotland: R Shepherd (Melrose); A Stanger (Hawick), S Hastings (Watsonians), I Jardine (Stirling County), K Logan (Stirling County); G Townsend (Northampton), G Armstrong (Newcastle); D Hilton (Bath), K McKenzie (Stirling County), B Stewart (Edinburgh Academicals), D Cronin (Bourges), G Weir (Newcastle), R Wainwright (Watsonians, capt), E Peters (Bath), I Smith (Gloucester). Replacements: D Stark (Boroughmuir) for Jardine, 25.

Referee: W Erickson (Aus).