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Autumn Test

Agony for Scots as All Blacks edge thriller

Finn Russell converts for Scotland (SNS Group)


Scotland 17 New Zealand 22
Murrayfield


Scotland came agonisingly close to a historic victory against an All Blacks team surprised by a robust performance from the hosts.

Man of the match Stuart Hogg was denied in the final minutes when his forward pass following a dash down the left flank effectively conceded the match with the visitors five points ahead.

Two tries from Gray and Jones and assured kicking from Russell enabled Scotland to remain in touch with the visitors.

New Zealand may have been uncharacteristically pressured but their quick movement of the ball and sheer speed proved the deciding factor.

The first half proved the Scots were capable of matching the best team in the world. With the game nicely balanced at 3-3, it was Codie Taylor who scored the game’s opening try soon after the break when he broke away down the left wing.

A second try followed on 52 minutes as Damian McKenzie pounced on a tap-in through the Scottish defence. Despite being a man down Beauden Barrett scored a third on 66 minutes to effectively seal the game after the Scots threatened to get back into the contest.

Scotland’s bright start, taking the game to the Opposition, was rewarded when Finn Russell scored a penalty on seven minutes to put the hosts ahead and they looked good value for their lead as they continued to frustrate the visitors.

The All Blacks pushed forward, testing the home defence and coming closest on 27 minutes as a try looked inevitable until a forward pass saved the Scots.

The visitors had to wait until the 38th minute for an equalising penalty following a John Barclay infringement. Beauden Barrett stepped up to open the New Zealanders’ account.

Former All Black Doug Howlett credited the performance of the Scottish defence.

“The All Blacks have been taken aback by the physicality of the Scottish team,” he said.

“We just haven’t been able to play our own game and we’re going backwards; it is a credit to the Scotland defence.”

Scorers:

Scotland

Tries: Johnny Gray (60′), Jones (77′)

Penalties: Russell (7′)

Conversions: Russell (62′ and 78′)

New Zealand

Tries: Taylor (44′), McKenzie (52′), Barrett (66′)

Penalties: Barrett (38′)

Conversions: Barrett (53′ and 68′)

Teams

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Cornell du Preez, Hamish Watson, John Barclay (captain), Jonny Gray, Ben Toolis, Zander Fagerson, Stuart McInally, Darryl Marfo.

Replacements: George Turner, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist, Luke Hamilton, Henry Pyrgos, Pete Horne, Byron McGuigan.

New Zealand: Damian McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Vaea Fifita, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Kane Hames.

Replacements: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Liam Squire, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown.

Russell to move on

Nov 20 update: Stand-off Finn Russell has announced he is to leave Glasgow Warriors at the end of the season and has been linked with a move to France. It is believed that Paris club Racing 92 are favourites to land his signature.

The 25-year-old said he wanted to test himself beyond the Scottish game.

He said: “I’ve really enjoyed my five years at Glasgow Warriors. I would like to thank every­ player, coach and member of the backroom staff for making it so special.

“During my time at the club I’ve really developed as a player and I’ve been called up to the Scotland and British and Irish Lions squads.

“I’ve shared so many fantastic moments with people who are now friends for life and to do it in front of the amazing Glasgow Warriors supporters at Scots­toun has been a dream come true.

“I’ve always wanted to experience as much as I can during what is a short rugby career. “It was obviously a difficult decision to leave Glasgow, but I have the opportunity to take myself out of my comfort zone and experience a new culture and type of rugby.

“However, I am fully focused on Glasgow Warriors and will do everything I can to make my final season at Scotstoun a successful one.”

Glasgow managing director Nathan Bombrys added: “Our club has an excellent track record of retaining our key players in recent years. However, in this instance Finn has decided to move on and accept a lucrative opportunity at another club.”

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