‘A game of inches’ - Darcy Graham was a fraction away from one of the great Scotland tries
It was a spectacular effort, with the Scotland winger propelling himself up in the air to keep himself in play before touching down one-handed in the corner. Unfortunately, his foot had already strayed into touch and referee Frank Murphy chalked it off. It was 14-14 at that point, with Scotland in rampant form having recovered from the loss of two early tries. They would stretch their lead to 23-14 by the mid-point of the second half before being overhauled by tries from Scott Barrett and Mark Telea as New Zealand eventually won 31-23 to deny the Scots a historic first win over the All Blacks.
“It's a game of inches, isn't it?” reflected Graham ruefully. “Another half inch and I would have scored it. It changes the game. It would have been a great finish if it stood so it’s very frustrating. It would have been a massive turning point. I thought I had got it, It was actually my inside foot that touched the line. I had managed to keep my outside foot up in the air. Another half inch and it was a try.”
His coach, Gregor Townsend, described Graham’s recent form as “world class”. “To see what he did in a game against the top wingers in the world, he’s up with the very best,” said Townsend. “That try would have been one of the best that Murrayfield has seen, in terms of finishing. But it wasn’t to be.”
Graham was man of the match against Fiji eight days previously but took his performance to another level against New Zealand. The try that did count was a lovely piece of improvisation as he intercepted David Havili’s pass and then wriggled away from Caleb Clarke and Jordie Barrett to score in the corner.
“My legs felt very heavy very quickly because the pitch was quite heavy,” he said. “But I managed to finish it so I was absolutely buzzing. It was definitely one of my best and something I'll cherish for the rest of my life. To score against the All Blacks was very special.”
Graham needed his head stitched after coming into contact with a stray boot but is expected to be fit to face Argentina on Saturday as Scotland look to end their autumn series with a victory. The match is likely to bring Graham into direct competition with Emiliano Boffelli, his Edinburgh team-mate, and the Hawick man knows Scotland must try to deny the Argentine any penalty opportunities such is his accuracy from the tee.
“Penalties will be massive,” said Graham. “He is an unbelievable goalkicker. He doesn't miss. As you've seen with Edinburgh and Argentina we can't give any penalties because he will kick them from anywhere. So discipline is key. It was good against New Zealand. A couple of easy ones slipped in, but it was a lot better compared to Fiji. It was something we spoke about last week. We wanted to fix it and we did.
“Argentina will be confident of the back of the Summer tour. But we owe them one for that. We just need to have that hunger and fight for everything.”
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