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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam