Tuesday, November 11, 2008
New Zealand got the first leg of their Grand Slam tour under way with a comfortable 32-6 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday. With plenty of talk pre-match about the second string All Black outfit that coach Graeme Henry selected, the Scots still werent quite good enough to pose a threat to the Tri Nations champions.
The Scots got off to a good start in the match, looking dangerous through Mike Blair and Chris Paterson, but they couldnt maintain it and they will need to lift their game once again as they face the Springboks on Saturday.
The finishing of the visitors, as well as their superior pace and handling, outdid the at times shaky Scottish defence. The physicality of the match wasnt in question though, as this was no easy task for the men in black. Despite that, their four tries were ultimately enough to see them home for a relatively straight forward win.
Tries by Anthony Tuitavake, Richard Kahui, Piri Weepu and Anthony Boric meant that they can now put a little tick next to the checkbox for game one of this arduous tour.
Coach Graeme Henry was quick to praise his experimental side.
"It was a good start to the tour of the UK," said Henry.
"There was some quick defence out there when we were under the cosh.
"The Scots played with adventure and probably deserved a couple of tries. I'm told there were nine line breaks by Scotland. That shows we're a bit rusty. But this was a first time together for this team".
Scottish coach Frank Hadden was more frustrated than disappointed with the result.
"After having had so much possession and territory it was hard to accept this but when it came it to finishing New Zealand showed real class," he told reporters.
"However, I thought that we gave their defence a tough examination".
Regarding New Zealands chances of completing a Grand Slam, "They rode their luck today but they clearly have an abundance of talent. There is no denying the differences in resources between them and us".
New Zealand play Ireland at Croke Park on Saturday, with Scotland hosting South Africa at Murrayfield.
PLEASE NOTE: Mediazone have removed this video unfortunately.