Scotland vs New Zealand: Vern Cotter looks forward to ending century of All Black dominance

Scotland have not beaten All Blacks in 29 attempts over 109 years

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The Independent Online

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter does care about a century and more of failure against the All Blacks. Instead, the New Zealander is looking only to the future.

The Scots have not beaten New Zealand in 29 attempts dating back 109 years.

The last time they were spared defeat to the Kiwis was in 1983 - 18 Tests ago - when they managed a 25-25 draw in Edinburgh. A 0-0 stalemate in 1964 is their only other result of note for the Scots.

It is 23 years since they even managed to get within 10 points of the world champions. That match, the 1991 World Cup third-place play-off, took place before five members of Cotter’s starting XV for this weekend’s clash - Jonny Gray, Adam Ashe, Finn Russell, Mark Bennett and Stuart Hogg - were even born.

Cotter knows his new-look side will be up against it this weekend when they welcome the All Blacks to Murrayfield, even if the visitors have made a raft of changes for their trip north after last week’s narrow win over England.

However, the former Clermont Auvergne boss is now dreaming today will be finally be Scotland’s day.

Speaking ahead of the second autumn Test, Cotter said: “The record against New Zealand has been spoken about around the place. The only thing we have control of, however, is the present.

“The past has no bearing over what we are doing. We are not bothered about what has happened before.

“We don’t need to worry about the future either. All we need to do is focus fully on this match and concentrate on each instant as it passes.

“It’s the here and now that counts. If we give 100 per cent against the All Blacks during those instances then you never know.”

Asked if the weekend clash would be extra special for him against his compatriots, the head coach said: “I knew the question was coming and I can’t say it isn’t.

“But it is a game that everybody says you have no chance of winning. Reasonable people are saying this. The logic says we will lose this game.

“But our players have big hearts and they want to give this match their best shot.

“So that’s what I’m looking forward to most - the challenge and seeing our players get up and have a go against the best in the world.”

If Scotland are to have any hope against the Kiwis, they will need to put on a  performance that is as good from the first minute as it is until the last.

That was a challenge that proved too much for  Scotland seven days  ago against  the Pumas of Argentina.

For an hour they proved unstoppable as they mauled the Pumas with five tries - only to slacken off and lose discipline in the final 20 minutes.

The 41-31 final score did not do their early efforts justice and Cotter knows it.

“New Zealand will have looked at the last 20 minutes of our game with Argentina,” he said.

“They have named a very strong bench that will come into the game and I imagine they will be looking to increase speed during the game and gain momentum, as they did in that last 20 minutes against the English.

“But that’s the great  challenge for us. Our 23  have to compete and try to  stay in the contest for as long as  possible.”

Scotland: S Hogg; S Maitland, M Bennett, A Dunbar, T Seymour; F Russell, G Laidlaw; A Dickinson, R Ford, E Murray, R Gray, J Gray, R Harley, B Cowan, A Ashe

Replacements: F Brown, G Reid, G Cross, D Denton, J Beattie, C Cusiter, D Weir, S Lamont

New Zealand: B Smith; C Slade, M Fekitoa, R Crotty, C Piutau; D Carter, TJ Perenara; J Moody, J Parsons, C Faumuina, J Thrush, D Bird, R McCaw, S Cane, V Vito

Replacements: D Coles, W Crockett, B Franks, L Romano, L Messam, A Pulu, S B Williams, J Savea