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Scratchy All Blacks hold out Scotland

Posted on 01/31/2019 | in 深圳桑拿网 | by

The error-ridden All Blacks received the thumbs up from coach Steve Hansen, despite their difficulty quelling Scotland 24-16 on Saturday at Murrayfield.

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In one of the least impressive New Zealand displays in recent times, they needed a late try from lock Jeremy Thrush to avoid their first loss to Scotland in 30 Tests dating back to 1905.

The second-string tourists, featuring 13 personnel changes from last week’s 24-21 defeat of England, never found their rhythm against eighth-ranked Scotland.

As well as struggling to handle a ball made slippery by cold evening dew, the world champions made a hash of numerous lineouts and battled to puncture a home defence which was stout throughout.

With five-eighth Dan Carter struggling for rhythm in his first start for nearly a year, the All Blacks were guilty of trying to be too enterprising without getting the required dominance up front.

However, Hansen was pleased with how his inexperienced side handled a step up in intensity from the last Test many of them played – the easy win over the United States two weeks ago.

“It was the perfect game for us … this one was a big step up,” Hansen said.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better game because they had to earn the right to win it. They had to stay mentally strong and came through very, very well, I thought.”

Scotland showed last week’s 41-31 defeat of Argentina was no fluke but ran out of energy in the dying stages.

There were mixed emotions for their New Zealand coach Vern Cotter.

“When you look at what the players did on the paddock, it’s hard for the coach to be unhappy when you see that type of thing,” he said.

“They’re a young group and they weren’t far away.

“But we’re also honest enough to say, next time, we’ll have to do better.”

All Blacks No.8 Victor Vito hobbled off with a pulled calf muscle just before halftime, having earlier scored a spectacular solo try.

It came in the 10th minute, shrugging off one tackle after receiving a loose pass and using his searing pass to hold other defenders at bay on a 45m run to the left corner.

Scotland were soon 7-5 ahead when winger Tommy Seymour intercepted a pass from All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and raced 40m.

Carter began to find his range, slotting three penalties to one from Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw as New Zealand dominated the remainder of the first half to lead 14-10.

Halfback Laidlaw reduced the margin to one point soon after the break with a penalty.

It stayed that way for 20 minutes before Colin Slade – who moved in from the wing to replace Carter – landed a penalty, which Laidlaw immediately matched.

Laidlaw had a chance to put his team ahead with 10 minutes remaining but his first miss of the night, from a handy position, was followed by the dagger blow from man of the match Thrush, who drove over from close range.

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