To see the All Blacks forced to scramble for so long, under considerable duress that was exerted fairly and squarely by an opponent that outplayed them, it is inevitable that there will be some analysis that concludes the 22-17 victory against Scotland was a bad night at the office.

Scotland, for all that they have improved in recent times, remain number six in the world and don't have a huge number of scalps in the bag for it.

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But like so many other sides before them, they found a new lease of life when facing the All Blacks. They dug out a performance that was genuinely top drawer - physical, direct, creative and quick.


They played with tempo and width. They came through the middle well and were willing to be patient.

"The effort and the ability shown by the players was outstanding," said Scotland coach Gregor Townsend. "The courage and the fitness to keep on going and to be accurate with 10 minutes to go was encouraging.

"We are obviously disappointed that we had a chance at the end. We had a lot of pressure but we did not get that final try so that was disappointing."

Their number six ranking was a bit of a false reading and as such the alternative view of what happened at Murrayfield has to be considered. The prospect that the All Blacks actually showed a remarkable depth of character and resilience to win has to be acknowledged.

The value of their performance was significant in the long run. It will have done them a world of good on so many fronts.

The first is that they learned that any and every team they face has the potential to rise up on the day and beat them. The margins are as tight as the coaching staff say they are.

The second thing is that they will have seen, felt it too, how a hugely passionate crowd can sweep their team along - and make the stadium a cauldron of emotion and noise.

And the most important lesson is that they will have taken ample confidence that they can find a way to win when they can't, on balance of play, say they strictly deserved it.


The All Blacks didn't play particularly well, mostly because Scotland denied them the chance to do so. The visitors couldn't win or hold the ball for long enough. They couldn't sustain the momentum they needed to execute their gameplan or dominate Scotland.

But what they did do was score three clinical tries. They made three chances and took them all. What they also did was come up with some big plays when they needed them.

There were a couple of monster scrums on their own line that won them penalties and some excellent scrambling defence.

It may have looked a little desperate at times and indeed alien to see New Zealand clinging on, but that shouldn't prevent the bravery and urgency of that effort from being appreciated.

"I was pretty satisfied, I thought it was a great game of football," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. "Scotland really stood up to be counted and in turn so did we.

"It is called a test because it is a test of your physical and mental resolve and skill and both teams contributed. We are happy because we came out on top. We expected what we got.

"Do they understand that this is a good team? Some will and some won't. The people that understand the game will know that Scotland played particularly well. They have beaten Australia and that is the first loss they have had in five home games. They had a good Six Nations and they are a team on the rise and world rugby has some good teams at the moment. Rugby is in a good place.

"Everyone back home was telling us they were getting bored with us being dominant so maybe they need to go and have a cup of tea and think about that."