Matt Butler: Guscott reminds us that no one, not even Carter, is an unstoppable machine

The View From The Sofa: Scotland v New Zealand BBC1

For those who switched on any more than 15 seconds into the coverage of yesterday's match against New Zealand, Scotland have actually won sporting events in their history. Not against the All Blacks, of course. But, apart from the opening clips of Chris Hoy, Katherine Grainger and Andy Murray winning gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games, the BBC pundits made out as though Scotland were a non-sporting outpost which hadn't won anything in decades.

To remind people otherwise, it took an Englishman, Jeremy Guscott.

John Inverdale, the presenter of yesterday's match at Murrayfield, gave Scottish fans a glimmer of hope that their rugby team would beat New Zealand for the first time in over a century of meetings by mentioning Celtic's victory over Barcelona last week. But then he did the equivalent of chucking a bucket of iced water over supporters' heads by saying the All Blacks represent "the biggest rugby mountain of them all" and that just as the Catalans have Lionel Messi, the All Blacks have Dan Carter. Except, as Inverdale added, Carter is better. His pundits flanking Guscott on the pitch, Jonathan Davies and Andy Nicol, nodded sagely as if Inverdale had boldly claimed that bears perform their ablutions in wooded areas.

Davies openly guffawed when Inverdale asked Nicol whether any Scotland players would get into the All Blacks team. "It wouldn't be many," the former Wales fly-half said after composing himself.

But thank heavens Guscott was on hand to balance the shoulder-shrugging defeatism, which even Jill Douglas joined in when she interviewed the Scotland coach Andy Robinson pre-match with questions along the lines of "what's the point?". Not that Robinson retorted with any Braveheart-style fighting words.

"If we can win collisions and establish a go-forward, we can be satisfied," Robinson said. If any reader knows what this means, please let us know.

It was down to Guscott to provide the plain English by saying: "You can't go with the mindset to defend. I look forward to Scotland having a go," before predicting a much closer contest than his peers.

And his words proved to be prescient 14 minutes into the game when Tim Visser – a Dutchman, but we'll overlook that fact for now – ran over for the opening try of the game, an interception score after Carter – gasp – had misplaced a pass.

This try and a penalty meant Scotland were at least level for 15 minutes of the first half. And the home team held their own in defence in patches, as well as scoring another try before half-time. Sure, New Zealand scored four tries before the break and went on to win convincingly, despite the second-half sin-binning of Adam Thomson.

But Guscott still refused to join in the half-time fawning by Nicol and Inverdale ("You just have to sit back and admire them," the former Scotland captain said as if he was watching Michelangelo putting the final touches on the Sistine Chapel.)

Guscott screwed up his face and all but told his studio colleagues to quit the cooing. He quite rightly said if Scotland do this, that or the other, they have a chance – and that no team is unbeatable. And the former England centre should be commended for reminding people that no matter who the opposition is, it is always prudent to have a bit of belief.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain