Stuart Hogg versus Beauden Barrett; a match-deciding play that will go down in rugby folklore.

Pinpointing one moment from such a memorable test seems amiss. As with any match many instances, two yellow cards alone, had major influences on the All Blacks scrambling to victory in Edinburgh.

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But, partly because it was the last act, and therefore tension at its peak, Hogg breaking through, as he did so often, and gassing towards the line only to be taken into touch tantalisingly short by Barrett firmly sticks out.


Two of the world's best attacking players going head-to-head is but one 'what if' moment that will haunt Scotland. There were many others, too. It's why they were anything but celebratory about this near thing.

Hogg against Barrett had everyone, including those in the respective coaching boxes at a feverish Murrayfield, on their feet.

Hogg, this brilliant fullback, held history in his hands. The first Scottish win over the All Blacks in 112 years seemed possible, probable, even. Until Barrett arrived.

"On the brink of something special wasn't I," Hogg said.

"I knew it was going to be tough but like always I back my ability. Credit to Beauden Barrett it was a cracking tackle. I'm pretty gutted to chuck the ball away as well but, look, on another day that comes off.

"The boys are devastated to be honest. We gave ourselves chances to score tries and probably left a couple out there."

For his part, Barrett claims he was sweating. Earlier he showcased his blistering pace to finish a classy set piece try laid on by Sonny Bill Williams and Damian McKenzie. This time, from fullback, he needed all of it to save the All Blacks' blushes.

"We knew it was coming - we knew they weren't going to kick the ball away. We decided to kick long and try hold them out," Barrett explained.

"He's a great attacking player there was one point I thought I gave him too much on the outside and I was a bit worried so I was relieved to see the outcome.

"I'm glad I got there in the end."

With five points the difference and time up, Scotland coach Gregor Townsend's thoughts drifted to Finn Russell knocking over the match-winning conversion from the sideline.. What that would have meant to those who formed one of the best atmospheres Townsend has experienced at Murrayfield and, indeed, those glued to screens around the country.

"He seems to like those ones more than the ones in front," Townsend said of Russell's kick that wasn't to be. "It looked like Stuart was going to go whole way he was so determined. Beauden Barrett is pretty quick too and he managed to get the cover tackle.

"It's a pity we couldn't get the try but it was a great effort right to the end."
Unlike others in his pressure-filled profession, Steve Hansen isn't one to get overly animated but he, too, held his breath hoping someone, anyone, would stop Hogg.

"I didn't have much time to think anything else he was running that quick. I thought Hogg was pretty good tonight. He's a class player, Beauden, and he's done that before," the All Blacks coach said in reference to Barrett's scrambling try-saving tackle on Willie le Roux in the Ellis Park epic in 2013.

That day Barrett was playing his 13th test off the bench. Tonight was his 61st - and while, he and the All Blacks were nowhere near perfect, this effort again proved his value.

"It took a special player to stop a special player."

And with that, another of rugby's great tales was woven.

Hogg came within inches of creating history but, for now, Scotland's wait continues.