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.

Voices
Numbers of complaints about unwanted calls have trebled in just six months
voices
News
people
Arts & Entertainment
Picture of innocence: Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington in ‘Derek’
tvReview: The insights of Ricky Gervais's sweet and kind character call to mind Karl Pilkington's faux-naïf podcast observations
Arts & Entertainment
Tangled up in blue: Singer-songwriter Judith Owen
musicAnd how husband Harry Shearer - of Spinal Tap and The Simpsons fame - helped her music flourish
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Paul Weller: 'I am a big supporter of independent record stores but the greedy touts making a fast buck off genuine fans is disgusting'
music
Arts & Entertainment
William Shakespeare's influence on English culture is still strongly felt today, from his plays on stage to words we use everyday
arts
Sport
Karim Benzema celebrates scoring the opening goal
sportReal Madrid 1 Bayern Munich 0: Germans will need their legendary self-belief to rescue Champions League tie in second leg
Life & Style
Looking familiar: The global biometrics industry is expected to grow to $20bn by 2020
tech
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes has claimed supporters understand the need to look at
sportScot thanks club staff and fans, but gives no specific mention of players
News
Strange 'quack' noises could be undersea chatter of Minke whales
science
News
weird news... and film it, obviously
Life & Style
Balancing act: City workers at the launch of Cityfathers
lifeThe organisation is the brainchild of Louisa Symington-Mills who set up Citymothers in 2012 - a group boasting more than 3,000 members
Arts & Entertainment
tv
News
Fresh hope: Ruth Womak and her dog Jess. A free training course in basic computing skills changed Ruth’s life
educationHow a housing association's remarkable educational initiative gave hope to tenant battling long-term illness and depression
News
Rohff is one of France’s most popular rappers
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Migrants in Britain a decade on: The Poles who brought prosperity

Migrants in Britain a decade on

The Poles who brought prosperity
Philippe Legrain: 'The eurozone crisis has tipped many into disillusionment, despair and extremism - we need a European Spring'

Philippe Legrain: 'We need a European Spring'

The eurozone crisis has tipped many into disillusionment, despair and extremism - this radically altered landscape calls for a new kind of politics, argues the economist
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A moment of glory on the Western Front for the soldiers of the Raj

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A moment of glory on the Western Front for the soldiers of the Raj
Judith Owen reveals how husband Harry Shearer - star of This Is Spinal Tap and The Simpsons - helped her music flourish

Judith Owen: 'How my husband helped my music flourish'

Her mother's suicide and father's cancer also informed the singer-songwriter's new album, says Pierre Perrone
The online lifeline: How a housing association's remarkable educational initiative gave hope to tenant battling long-term illness and depression

Online lifeline: Housing association's educational initiative

South Yorkshire Housing Association's free training courses gave hope to tenant battling long-term illness and depression
Face-recognition software: Is this the end of anonymity for all of us?

Face-recognition software: The end of anonymity?

The software is already used for military surveillance, by police to identify suspects - and on Facebook
Train Kick Selfie Guy is set to scoop up to $250,000 thanks to his viral video - so how can you cash in on your candid moments?

Viral videos: Cashing in on candid moments

Train Kick Selfie Guy Jared Frank could receive anything between $30,000 to $250,000 for his misfortune - and that's just his cut of advertising revenue from being viewed on YouTube
The world's fastest elevators - 20 metres per second - are coming soon to China

World's fastest elevators coming soon to China

Whatever next? Simon Usborne finds out from Britain's highest authority on the subject
Cityfathers tackles long-hours culture that causes men to miss out on seeing their children

Cityfathers tackles long-hours culture

The organisation is the brainchild of Louisa Symington-Mills, a chief operating officer who set up Citymothers in 2012 - a group that now boasts more than 3,000 members
Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable