All Blacks: Herald reporter blocked from press conference

A journalist from nzherald.co.nz was barred from a press conference ahead of the All Blacks' test with Scotland due to the critical comments of a Herald sportswriter. Photo / Getty Images.
A journalist from nzherald.co.nz was barred from a press conference ahead of the All Blacks' test with Scotland due to the critical comments of a Herald sportswriter. Photo / Getty Images.

The Scottish rugby team has responded to critical comments from a Herald sportswriter by blocking a journalist from nzherald.co.nz from their full media press conference in Edinburgh yesterday.

The All Blacks don't play Scotland until early Monday morning (NZT) but the off field war-of-words flared up once again when video journalist George Berry was denied access to the Scottish team naming, for being associated with the Herald's senior sportswriter Chris Rattue.

Rattue questioned why the All Blacks were bothering to play Scotland who were "so bad that even the rugby spin machine may have trouble whirring into action," and his comments sparked outrage throughout the Scottish media.

And the fallout yesterday affected Berry, who said he was shocked at being stonewalled by the Scotland side after developing a great relationship with them during last year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

"I was asked who I was doing the video for by the Scotland media guy and I responded, 'The Herald'," said Berry.

"Is that the same paper as that guy Rattue? I was asked. I responded yes, however I must say I've never met the guy and don't share in many of his beliefs."

"I was then told - if that's the case I'm afraid our team is not interested in talking to The Herald."

Berry then reinforced his relationship with Scottish rugby and underlined how foolish it would be to deny the Scottish rugby team coverage in New Zealand, and after a few minutes of one-sided compliments was eventually granted access to do a very quick interview at the end of everyone else.

However it came with a warning and a message to the Herald editor-in-chief Tim Murphy.

"They said to tell him that sort of narrow journalism isn't appreciated in Scotland, and it's a shame that he (Rattue) hasn't got his arse out from behind the desk and followed up his comments by being in Edinburgh."

The Scotsman said his tone was condescending but he might have given the Scottish players added motivation to finally beat the All Blacks.

"Rattue surprises no one by suggesting that even an All Blacks side missing key players will prove more than a handful for injury-ravaged Scotland.

"Not all Kiwis are as swollen-headed and arrogant and some of Rattue's criticisms are accurate, but if Scottish players wondered how they were really perceived in the Land of the Long White Cloud they have an idea now, and perhaps some fresh motivation to prove themselves again on the test stage."

All Black attack coach Ian Foster was diplomatic when asked about Rattue's column, saying the All Blacks had "massive respect" for Scottish rugby. This was despite New Zealand planning to field all of their 32-man squad in the opening two games of their tour against Scotland and Italy.

The All Blacks have played Scotland 28 times since the two teams first met in 1905 and have never lost, though they have drawn twice. Scotland were yesterday paying $10 for a win at the TAB.

CHRIS RATTUE ON SCOTLAND
"They play a turgid, ineffective game that belongs in a cave because their players have few skills."

CHRIS RATTUE ON WALES
"Let's face it. Wales are rubbish. They are the village idiots of rugby union."

CHRIS RATTUE ON AUSTRALIA
"This Aussie team has too many powder puffs, particularly in the forwards. They just aren't hard enough."

CHRIS RATTUE ON IRELAND
"Those Irish salvos looked more like attempts to have something in the bank to save face with before the inevitable landslide buried them. Which it did."

-nzherald.co.nz

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