A former Scottish rugby international has made opened up about the 1987 World Cup-winning All Blacks, revealing exactly what made them so unbeatable.
Reminiscing on the New Zealand and Australia co-hosted tournament, Alan Tait, who was one of the young bucks of the touring Scottish party, spoke to Rugby Pass of their quarter-final date with the All Blacks.
Describing the likes of All Black legends Wayne 'Buck' Shelford and Sir John Kirwan as beasts of the game, Tait revealed the extent of Scotland's fears of the men in black.
"I'd never set eyes on them before. They were big animals," Tait said. "Buck Shelford, you didn't see men like him. Michael Jones, the Whetton brothers, they were f***ing ferocious.
"I can remember John Kirwan standing opposite Iwan Tukalo, looking over and winking and saying, 'Enjoy your flight home'. They had the banter as well. They had that fear factor, nothing daunted them. I was up against Smokin' Joe Stanley, one of their all-time greats. He was a big lump. John Gallagher was cutting loose from the back.
"I remember going into a ruck and I must have been rolled back five yards from the ruck by their studs. 'Oh my back, oh my arm, oh my shoulder' – six or seven pairs of boots jumping on me to get me out of the way."
Grappled with the fear of their opponents, Scotland went on to cop a 30-3 drubbing as the All Blacks went on to claim Rugby World Cup glory.
Looking back, Tait said he believed most teams actually set themselves up for failure against the All Blacks before the game was even played.
"I know for a fact we were scared of them. I can openly say that," Tait said. "There will be a few players might doubt me, but we held them in too high a regard and we didn't take them on.
"They had everybody beaten before they played them … We gave them too much respect. I don't think we believed ourselves we were going to win that game."
The All Blacks are just seven days away from kicking off their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign.
They will face off against South Africa in their first pool game next Saturday night.