Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

League: Three things we learned from the Kiwis draw with Scotland

James Fisher-Harris of New Zealand is tackled by Brett Phillips of Scotland. Photo / Getty
James Fisher-Harris of New Zealand is tackled by Brett Phillips of Scotland. Photo / Getty

Kiwis ambushed

This was the classic ambush - and the Kiwis walked right into it. After being prevented from training at the venue for their captain's run, the New Zealand team must have got a shock when they got their first look at the Derwent Stadium pitch. It was bumpy and uneven, and the facilities were a far cry from what they are used to in the NRL. And the Kiwis didn't cope well, against a fired up Scottish team, in front of a brilliantly passionate crowd. Add in a wind tunnel effect, and driving rain, and all the conditions were present for a boilover. And we got one.

Too many changes

If coach David Kidwell had his time over, he probably wouldn't have made so many changes to his side for this match. It was a brave move, and one that this writer agreed with at the time. Most of the rookies did well, especially James Fisher-Harris, but the New Zealand side needed some older heads out there, like Kevin Proctor or Jason Taumalolo, and missed the goal kicking expertise of Jordan Kahu.

Truly Scotland the brave

Let's not forget just how courageous or skillful Scotland were on Saturday morning. Their defence was unbelievable, with some stunning try-saving tackles, and they refused to yield to the big name Kiwis pack all night. Captain Danny Brough was an inspiration, after having two pain killing needles to play and Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote had the game of his life. Scotland scored three well-worked tries, and on another day would have won the match.

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