New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84
THE last Scot to wear an expression as bemused as John Rutherford's yesterday afternoon was Macbeth, shortly after being visited by Banquo's ghost. 'They were awesome,' the home coach croaked, although in all honesty his own team were so bad that the All Blacks might have had more trouble beating a XV selected from South Mimms Service Station than the South of Scotland.
New Zealand's record score in the British Isles contained no less than 12 tries, although thanks to the fact that the Scots hit a purple patch when they were trailing 77-5, the tourists scored only once in the final 25 minutes. 'We could see 100 points on the scoreboard, and discovered a bit of pride,' Rutherford said.
Shane Howarth, the full-back, contributed 28 points, and Zinzan Brooke, the captain and the only All Black to have played in all six tour matches, scored four tries. Three came in a 16-minute spell either side of half-time when the tourists crossed the line seven times. As an exercise in one-sided rugby, it was indeed awesome, although as build-ups go, it might have been more significant if the All Blacks were preparing for the Melrose Sevens as opposed to a Test match at Murrayfield.
Laurie Mains, the All Blacks coach, said that they had paid the South of Scotland team a compliment by the intensity of their build- up and that he did not consider the result a true reflection of Scottish rugby. 'If we met them again in two weeks' time, it would be an awful lot closer than that,' he said, before adding: 'If provincial sides don't get off to a good start against touring teams, they can often fall away.'
Falling away is one of the kinder descriptions for an 84-point stuffing, and the fact that the South managed to score their first try against a New Zealand touring side since 1935 rather got lost in the wash. It was a simple threequarter move from a scrum that resulted in Gary Parker crossing near the left corner, but despite the fact that only two minutes of the first half remained at that point, the All Blacks responded with not one but two tries before the interval.
The game effectively died as a contest from the opening forward confrontation, when the All Blacks sliced through the opposition like a claymore through a haggis. Sean Fitzpatrick must be a hell of player to keep Norm Hewitt out of the Test side, while Brooke, down in the programme to play open-side flanker, had a go at most positions.
Nevertheless, South were so abject that it is difficult to know what conclusions to draw. It was a perfect afternoon for running the ball - the home team's declared intention - but this sort of plan is dependent on having a ball to run. All that was left to them was some blood-and- guts defending, but the tackling was woeful.
The ultimate humiliation came with the first score of the second half when a hooker sold three dummies before flopping over. 'Bloody hell,' a disaffected native groaned up in the stand, 'they're nae good enough to start a fight.'
What must worry the Scots is that the South, who have won their district title for the past two years, are by far the strongest of their representative sides. Rutherford, however, remains optimistic that the national side will be able to give the All Blacks a decent game.
'Scotland have got the power up front to compete, and the Scottish backs are more physically capable than our side today of stopping them from crossing the gain line.' It would have sounded a shade more convincing had he not looked as though he was about to hang himself from the goalposts.
Scores: South of Scotland: Try Parker. New Zealand: Tries Brooke 4, Hewitt 2, Howarth 2, Bachop, Mitchell, Ellis, Preston; Conversions Howarth 9; Penalties Howarth 2.
SOUTH OF SCOTLAND: M Dods (Gala); A Stanger (Hawick), S Nichol (Selkirk), G Shiel, G Parker; C Chalmers, B Redpath (Melrose); G Isaac (Gala), J Hay (Hawick), H Hunter (Gala), R Brown (capt), G Weir (Melrose), D Turnbull, B Renwick (Hawick), J Amos (Gala). Replacement: S McColm (Hawick) for Hunter, 6.
NEW ZEALAND: S Howarth; E Clarke (Auckland), M Berry (Wellington), L Stensness (Auckland), E Rush (North Harbour); S Bachop (Otago), J Preston (Wellington); M Ellis (Taranaki), N Hewitt (Hawke's Bay), G Purvis, S Gordon (Waikato), R Fromont (Auckland), B Larsen (North Harbour), J Mitchell (Waikato), Z Brooke (Auckland, capt). Replacement: M Ellis (Otago) for Berry, 35.
Referee: D Matthews (Liverpool).Reuse content