Scotland the brave in defeat

New Zealand 62 Scotland 31
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The Independent Online
Scotland displayed all their gallantry but that was not enough to prevent them conceding a record score in the rugby union Test against the All Blacks at Carisbrook, Dunedin, yesterday.

Scotland scored 31 points and three tries, the best they have done against New Zealand in 19 Test matches. The problem for the Scots was that New Zealand scored 62 points and nine tries, including four by the sensational new full-back Christian Cullen.

Jonah Lomu scored his almost regulation try when he stampeded over his opposition wing, Craig Joiner, but Cullen, who scored three tries on his All Black debut in the 51-10 win over Western Samoa last week, was even more devastating yesterday as he cut the Scotland defence to shreds. His first try, in particular, was a gem when he brushed aside six tackles as he sprinted 35 metres to the line.

Scotland could be encouraged by their performance. The forwards worked as a unit, and at ruck and maul time they often had the All Blacks back- pedalling. Their fly-half, Gregor Townsend, scored a brilliant individual try three minutes from the end when he doubled around centre Ian Jardine, but for the Scots it was too little too late.

The All Black forwards may have been average in their performance but the back three of Cullen, Lomu and Jeff Wilson were simply devastating. Scotland began the game strongly but three individual tries in the space of six minutes midway through the first spell gave the All Blacks a cushion which they used as a springboard to even better things in the second half.

The Scotland forwards played heroically but at the end of the day there was little to show for their labours. "It's difficult to accept but I think we know where we went wrong and we must look to improve in the second Test next week," the Scots captain, Rob Wainwright, said.

"The scoreline doesn't quite tell how the game went but the All Blacks did score 62 points and we have to take responsibility," he added.

However, the match belonged to Cullen, whose try-scoring endeavours in his first two Tests have almost relegated Lomu to anonymity. But not quite. Lomu and Cullen will again figure as the major obstacles at Eden Park, Auckland, next weekend when the Scots try to restore some pride from their tour in the second and final Test.

NEW ZEALAND: Tries Cullen 4, I Jones, Lomu, Marshall, Z Brooke, Mehrtens. Conversions Mehrtens 7. Penalty Mehrtens.

SCOTLAND: Tries Peters, Joiner, Townsend. Conversion Shepherd 2. Penalties Shepherd 3. Drop Goal Shepherd 1.

New Zealand: C Cullen (Manawatu); J Wilson (Otago), F Bunce (North Harbour), S McLeod (Waikato), J Lomu (Counties); A Mehrtens (Canterbury), J Marshall (Canterbury); C Dowd (Auckland), S Fitzpatrick (Auckland, capt), O Brown (Auckland), I Jones (North Harbour), R Brooke (Auckland), M Jones (Auckland), Z Brooke (Auckland), J Kronfeld. (Otago). Replacement: E Rush (North Harbour) for Lomu, 67.

Scotland: R Shepherd (Melrose); C Joiner (Melrose), R Eriksson (London Scottish), I Jardine (Stirling County), K Logan (Stirling County); G Townsend (Northampton), G Armstrong (Newcastle); D Hilton (Bath), K McKenzie (Stirling County), P Wright (Boroughmuir), D Cronin (Bourges), G Weir (Newcastle), R Wainwright (Watsonians, capt), E Peters (Bath), I Smith (Gloucester).

Referee: W Erickson (Aust). Crowd: 36,000.

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