Scotland's long wait for New Zealand victory goes on as All Blacks overturn nine-point deficit to win at Murrayfield

Scotland’s wait for win against New Zealand goes on, but this was one that got away.

Gregor Townsend’s team led from the 30th minute to the 66th and had chances in the first half to add to their two early tries, but New Zealand – bolstered by some high-quality reinforcements from the bench – scored two of their own in the final 14 minutes to maintain their 117-year unbeaten record against the Scots.

On a day of high emotion, Doddie Weir presented the match ball and was embraced by both captains as Murrayfield rose to applaud the former lock forward who has shown such courage following his MND diagnosis six years ago.

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On a noisy Sunday afternoon, both sides tore into each other from the off and there were four early tries, but New Zealand ultimately had enough in the tank and two scores from debutant winger Mark Telea and one apiece from Samisoni Taukei'aho and Scott Barrett won them the game. Finn Russell, back in the cockpit for Scotland, was slick and assured and added 11 points with the boot, with the home side’s other points coming from a penalty try and a Darcy Graham touchdown. Scotland had replacement back-row Jack Dempsey yellow-carded late on and the All Blacks scored their final two tries while he was off the pitch. It was ruthless efficiency.The opening to this match was extraordinary and New Zealand looked like they might run away with it as they raced into a two-try lead after seven minutes. But Scotland came roaring back with two tries of their own and it was 14-14 with under quarter of an hour played.

Mark Telea scored two tries for New Zealand against Scotland.Mark Telea scored two tries for New Zealand against Scotland.
Mark Telea scored two tries for New Zealand against Scotland.

The warning signs were there for Scotland when Telea made the most of a woozy crossfield kick and stepped past Hogg with ease. The home side held out on that occasion – but it took the All Blacks just two-and-a-half minutes to score the game’s first try, and from a Scottish point of view it was too easy. New Zealand won a lineout, set up a maul and hooker Taukei'aho forced his way over.

Worse was to follow. Ardie Savea, the All Blacks No 8, won an important turnover in midfield and Beauden Barrett slipped a kick through on the left wing. Caleb Clarke was stopped short but the ball was recycled and Jordie Barrett produced the perfect crossfield kick for Telea to gather and touch down.

Jordie Barrett converted both tries and you feared for Scotland at this point. But Hogg then took the game by the scruff of the neck and showed speed and skill to drag the home side back into it, chipping ahead and outpacing the Kiwi defenders. He was nobbled by Anton Lienert Brown just as he was about to dive on the ball and referee Frank Murphy correctly awarded the penalty try and sent Brown to the sin-bin.

Scotland had woken up and they were soon back on terms thanks to another son of Hawick. Graham, man of the match against Fiji last week, intercepted and hared off to the New Zealand line, leaving a couple of defenders flailing in his wake as he slalomed over for the try which Russell converted.

Darcy Graham celebrates his try in the first half. He came so close to scoring a second for Scotland.Darcy Graham celebrates his try in the first half. He came so close to scoring a second for Scotland.
Darcy Graham celebrates his try in the first half. He came so close to scoring a second for Scotland.

It was breathless stuff and Hogg was playing like a man possessed, chasing through his own kick before Ritchie came piling in. The crowd were loving it, although momentum was stalled slightly by the loss of Hamish Watson to a head injury, with Jack Dempsey replacing him.

The crowd thought Scotland had scored again as Ritchie surged for the line but Murphy’s raised hand was to indicate an infringement by the Scotland captain, who had been penalised for an extra movement on the ground.

Ritchie was everywhere as Scotland took the game to the visitors, just as he had vowed to do. Graham looked like he had got over for his second try after Hogg had popped the ball up for him but the winger’s foot had strayed into touch despite his spectacular finish in the corner.

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Russell’s quick delivery was helping Scotland maintain the pressure close to the New Zealand line, and the stand-off tried to dink one through for Hogg but the kick was overcooked. Play was brought back for an earlier infringement and Russell kicked a penalty in front of the posts to put Scotland ahead for the first time in the match. They maintained their 17-14 lead, surviving a few anxious moments before Murphy blew for half-time.

Scotland's Duhan Van Der Merwe is tackled by New Zealand's David Havili during the match at BT Murrayfield.Scotland's Duhan Van Der Merwe is tackled by New Zealand's David Havili during the match at BT Murrayfield.
Scotland's Duhan Van Der Merwe is tackled by New Zealand's David Havili during the match at BT Murrayfield.

The second half couldn’t hope to live up to the drama of the first but Scotland continued to play with width and adventure, forcing the visitors into mistakes. Russell kicked a penalty to make it 20-14 when New Zealand were pinged for offside and repeated the trick when the All Blacks scrum went down too early. Scotland now had a 23-14 lead and there was a sense that history could be unfolding as they maintained it going into the final quarter.

New Zealand looked to their bench and brought on some quality replacements, most notably in the front row and in half-back TJ Perenara. They were creeping back into it and Jordie Barrett landed a penalty to give their first points since the seventh-minute try.

The momentum had shifted and suddenly New Zealand were producing wave upon wave of attacks. Dempsey stuck out an arm to try to intercept a pass close to the Scotland line but it was a deliberate knock on and the back-row was shown the yellow card. With the hosts down to 14 men, Scott Barrett and then Telea, again, crossed for the All Blacks and Jordie Barrett executed the conversions perfectly to put the match beyond Scotland’s reach.

Scorers: Scotland: Tries: Penalty try, Graham. Con: Russell. Pens: Russell 3.

New Zealand: Tries: Taukei'aho, Telea 2, S Barrett. Cons: J Barrett 4. Pen: J Barrett.

Scotland: 15. Stuart Hogg; 14. Darcy Graham, 13. Chris Harris (Mark Bennett 65), 12. Sione Tuipulotu (Blair Kinghorn 77), 11. Duhan van der Merwe; 10. Finn Russell, 9. Ali Price (Ben White 65); 1. Pierre Schoeman (Rory Sutherland 57-65), 2. Fraser Brown (Ewan Ashman 71), 3. Zander Fagerson (WP Nel 57), 4. Richie Gray, 5. Grant Gilchrist (Jonny Gray 65), 6. Jamie Ritchie, 7. Hamish Watson (Jack Dempsey 18), Matt Fagerson.

New Zealand: 15. Jordie Barrett; 14. Mark Telea 13. Anton Lienert. Brown, 12. David Havili (Rieko Ione 53), 11. Caleb Clarke; 10. Beauden Barrett (Stephen Perofeta 79), 9. Finlay Christie (TJ Perenara 56); 1. Ethan de Groot (George Bower 51), 2. Samisoni Taukei'aho (Codie Taylor 56), 3. Nepo Laulala (Fletcher Newell 51), Sam Whitelock, 5. Scott Barrett (Tuou Vaa’i 71), 6. Akira Ioane (Shannon Frizell 59), 7. Dalton Papali’i, 8. Ardie Savea.

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU).

Attendance: 67,144