Scotland v New Zealand: Autumn Nations Series – live | Autumn Nations Series


Key events

65 min: Yellow card for Scotland! Dempsey

It look more like an attempted tackle to me, rather than a deliberate knock-on, but the referee and the TMO agree that it should be a yellow card for Dempsey. On commentary Andrew Mehrtens says he’s “uncomfortable with that kind of penalty”. I think it’s hard to say conclusively from the replays that it was deliberate.

64 min: New Zealand work to within a couple of metres. The referee is looking at a potential deliberate knock-on by Dempsey … and it would be a yellow card.

63 min: Penalty! Scotland 23-17 New Zealand

Jordie Barrett drills the penalty through the sticks. Incredibly, the first points that New Zealand have scored since inside the first 10 minutes and their second try. There is plenty left in this match and Scotland must keep playing their game, keep defending and take their chances when they come.

62 min: Shannon Frizell, the flanker, is on for New Zealand in place of Akira Ioane.

Meanwhile, Barrett tries another cross-kick for Clarke, but again it’s overhit. However the referee brings it back for a penalty at the scrum.

60 min: Scotland win clean lineout ball in their down half and try to rumble it upfield. New Zealand organise well in defence and Codie Taylor helps to win a scrum put-in for the Al Blacks.

59 min: Rieko Ioane makes a dart in midfield as New Zealand attempt to inject a bit of pace. Again, the Scottish defence is equal to it and forces him down a blind alley.

58 min: Perenara and Taylor are on for NZ. Taukei’aho and Christie go off. Sutherland and Nel (for his 50th cap) on for Scotland. Fagerson and Schoeman off.

55 min: Possession for New Zealand. Beauden Barrett tries a cross-kick looking for Caleb Clarke, but it flies out on the full on the All Blacks’ left.

54 min: Penalty! Scotland 23-14 New Zealand (Russell)

New Zealand continue to leak penalties all over the place … But Scotland will want more of a buffer than the nine points they have now.

53 min: Scrum penalty for Scotland … and another chance for Russell to stretch the lead. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Rieko Ioane comes on for David Havili.

52 min: New Zealand have freshened up their props. Newell and Bower come on.

50 min: Ah, the Scotland jersey numbers are ‘Doddie Weir tartan’, and intended to promote his fund-raising for MND.

48 min: Hogg roars through on the left wing and is brought down inches short! He looks to have the perfect opportunity to offload from the floor to an on-rushing teammate but for some reason hangs on to the ball!

47 min: Now, Akira Ioane is isolated after being tackled and Ritchie’s jackalling wins a penalty for Scotland. New Zealand have now conceded 11 penalties.

45 min: There are some concerned faces among the New Zealand squad in the stand. Anyway, Dempsey is now pinged for a high tackle on Ardie Savea and the All Blacks can kick for plenty of territory downfield. That feels like the first time in a long time that Scotland have caused themselves a problem and handed the visitors the advantage with a needless error.

42 min: Penalty! Scotland 20-14 New Zealand (Russell)

Van der Merwe makes another bullocking run into the New Zealand 22. A penalty for offside ultimately comes and Russell strokes it through. A very positive start to the half for Townsend’s team.

41min: An email from Andy Flintoff:

“Hi Luke, I’m not a Scotland fan, but they are playing well, forcing some sloppy mistakes from NZ. However, I’m more agitated by the colour of Scotland’s shirt numbers. Who decided that light numbers on the light-coloured shirt they are wearing was a good thing? They are impossible to see at a distance.

“Regards, Andy (not that one).”

Second half kick off!

Can Scotland do it? Can they make history?

Thoughts, Scotland fans? Email me.

Some half-time reading:

Half-time! Scotland 17-14 New Zealand

40 min: Scotland’s lineout ball is scruffy but they manage to keep possession and the swarm down the left … Van der Merwe is held up close to the corner. Scotland keep the ball alive and are nearly over for another try, but the All Blacks’ defence holds firm. A penalty to New Zealand brings the half to a close.

Phew, that was fantastic. Scotland were 14-0 down and have now battled back to lead by three points at the break. The tempo was high throughout, there will be a lot of fatigue on both sides, so the replacements’ benches are going to count for a lot.

37 min: Scotland win a scrum penalty after the set-piece collapses. Russell booms it downfield, for touch. Can Scotland have another crack at the try-line before the break? They are competing very, very well and repelled the latest wave of black shirts with some impressive physicality and work-rate.

35 min: Ardie Savea, among others, gives New Zealand some attacking go-forward with a punishing carry on their left wing as they move worryingly (from a Scottish point of view) close to the try-line. Caleb Clarke, the winger, also has a bash and it takes a couple of defenders to stop him. But then the No 9 Finlay Christie fluffs his lines and Scotland win a scrum! That could be massive in the context of the game, if Scotland can get to the half-time whistle still in front …

32 min: Now, for the first time in a while, it is time for New Zealand to build a bit of momentum and work through some attacking phases. A big driving maul gains some metres and eventually they win a scrum just outside the Scottish 22.

30 min: Penalty! Scotland 17-14 New Zealand (Russell)

More great stuff from Scotland. They win clean lineout ball and shove for the line. There is a massive, gynormous counter-shove by the All Blacks pack and the maul goes sideways … but Scotland keep the ball, and have options either side. They nearly force their way over under the posts, but some desperate defending from New Zealand keeps them out. Another penalty comes and Russell clips it through the middle easily. After a slightly shambolic start, Scotland lead!

28 min: Is this a second try for Graham?? It looks like it! … But no! His left boot clips the whitewash just before he leaps and dots it down.

Another excellent attack by Scotland anyway … and they had a penalty advantage.

26 min: Scotland are competing everywhere, including the breakdown area, for the most part. They win a penalty and Russell kicks of touch just outside the All Blacks’ 22. Scotland win the lineout and then try and drive for the line.

25 min: Scotland try to work through some phases in their own half but the All Blacks defence is rushing up, hunting in packs, and refusing to allow them any time to build some continuity in possession. Russell kicks for territory from around the Scottish 22 after Price is nearly scragged.

23 min: Scotland win a free-kick from the scrum. Price sends it out left, through the hands, and Van der Merwe gets his on the ball, making a very good but largely lateral run infield. When he takes the ball into contact, the lightning-fast work of the New Zealand back row to compete for the ball is astonishing. Akira Ioane is the man who has his hands on the ball immediately, perfectly placed to try and wrestle back possession, and the referee awards a penalty to New Zealand. Van der Merwe simply had no time to recycle the ball there. Leinert-Brown is now back on from his sin bin.

21 min: Looks like Jack Dempsey is on permanently for Watson, who has failed his HIA. Meanwhile there is defending to do for New Zealand, Scotland have a scrum inside the visitors’ half.

18 min: Hamish Watson is off with an HIA. Scotland attack again, with Price trying to prompt his forwards with some big carries. Ritchie is half-tackled a couple of metres out, and he tries to roll towards the line, and is immediately penalised for a double movement. The former All Black Andrew Mehrtens, on commentary, says it’s arguably a tough call as he wasn’t held by the first tackle.

17 min: After a bad start for Scotland, this has all the makings of a classic. Now Hogg hares after a low kick on the right and the New Zealand cover is forced into touch. The pressure is on New Zealand the Murrayfield crowd is up.

15 min: Try! Scotland 14-14 New Zealand (Graham)

Wow! A pass by the All Blacks inside centre, Havili, is intercepted by Darcy Graham on the Scotland right … the visiting defence is not set, of course, but he has plenty of work to do and jinks around the cover, including Jordie Barrett, and with Russell’s conversion, it’s all square!

Darcy Graham of Scotland dives over to score his team's second try.
Darcy Graham of Scotland dives over to score his team’s second try. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

13 min: The crowd is up. Van der Merwe is nearly through on the left but a brilliant tap tackle by Ioane brings him down.

11 min: Yellow card for New Zealand! (Lienert-Brown)

Anthony Lienert-Brown is given 10 minutes off for the early tackle on Hogg.

We’ve got a game on!

11min: Penalty try for Scotland! Scotland 7-14 New Zealand

A beautiful run and chip kick is by Hogg is rightly rewarded.

11 min: The ref thinks penalty try. The TMO seems to be saying that Jordie Barrett would have covered it … it looks a blatant penalty try and yellow card to me.

11 min: Hogg chip-kicks over the New Zealand defence, sprints down the middle and under the posts, and looks well set to touch down for a try … but he can’t get a hand to the bouncing ball! Was he tackled off the ball by Leinert-Brown, the NZ No 13? It looks like he was …

10 min: Scotland win a penalty and a chance to catch their breath after Whitelock is punished – initially it looks to be for offside but then the referee says “Neck”.

Try! 6 min: Scotland 0-14 New Zealand (Telea)

Scotland establish a smidgen of an attacking platform over the halfway line, but that man Ardie Savea ruins it by nabbing the ball quite brilliantly at the breakdown and offloads immediately. Was it a ruck? The referee waves play on and New Zealand are on the attack.

Beauden Barrett first puts a nice little grubber through, then sprays a crossfield kick out wide in the next phase, where Telea has the freedom of Murrayfield to run in their second try. Ruthless. Jordie Barrett converts again.

Mark Telea of New Zealand scores his team's second try of the game under pressure from Chris Harris of Scotland.
Mark Telea of New Zealand scores his team’s second try of the game under pressure from Chris Harris of Scotland. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Try! 3 min: Scotland 0-7 New Zealand (Taukei’aho)

After a big buildup this is a desperately disappointing start for Scotland. The All Blacks throw to the back of the lineout after winning that early penalty. Taukei’aho bashes over with the home defence in disarray – nothing about that defensive set looked right for Scotland. Jordie Barrett converts.

Taukei’aho scores a try.
Taukei’aho scores a try. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

2 min: Mark Telea, on his All Blacks debut on the wing, collects a cross kick which is slightly backwards and shrugs off Stuart Hogg with worrying ease. New Zealand win a penalty and have an attacking lineout. Big pressure for Scotland early on.

First half kick-off!

Here we go. Barrett (B) gets the match started.

There is a warm round of applause for the former Scotland and Lions forward Doddie Weir, who is pitchside with his family. Jamie Ritchie goes over for a quick chat.

The teams – a quick pre-kick off reminder:

Scotland: Hogg; Graham, Harris, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe; Russell, Price; Schoeman, Brown, Z Fagerson, R Gray, Gilchrist, Ritchie (capt), Watson, M Fagerson. Replacements: Ashman, Sutherland, Nel, J Gray, Dempsey, White, Kinghorn, Bennett

New Zealand: J Barrett; Telea, Lienert-Brown, Havili, Clarke; B Barrett, Christie; De Groot, Taukei’aho, Laulala, Whitelock (capt), S Barrett, A Ioane, Papali’i, Savea. Replacements: Taylor, Bower, Newell, Vaa’i, Frizell, Perenara, Perofeta, R Ioane

Flower of Scotland” always stirs the emotions. There may be the hint of a tear in some Scottish players’ eyes. And now for the Haka.

Scotland fans, All Blacks fans, rugby fans: What are you expectations for this one? You can email me!

There is a moment of silence, for Remembrance, after a blast of the bagpipes. And now it’s time for the anthems.

Here come the players. Scotland have never beaten the All Blacks. Could they do it today?

John Barclay, on pundit duty, says New Zealand missed 24 tackles against Wales last week, and that Scotland ‘need to take their chances’.

In a pre-recorded interview with Amazon Prime, Stuart Hogg says Scotland intend to ‘take the shackles off and have some fun’.

The All Blacks head coach, Ian Foster, is asked why he has made seven changes for today: “Look, I guess it’s the last two weeks of the year for us. We’ve got a squad that’s really pushing each other, I think some of those changes were pretty well flagged, they came off the bench last week, so the combinations are still there … and we really believe it’s the right group for today.

Will they play up the middle or wide? “A bit of both … the irony is last week we played under a roof and yet it was quite wet on the ground so it dominated the tactics. Today, we expected it to be a bit wetter, but it’s a beautiful day here and I think the conditions will mean both teams can play with a bit of width.

“It’s a new experience. We love this city and you can see the guys have really been soaking it up …

“We think Scotland is a team that’s growing, they play with a bit of adventure, and it’s a big occasion for them too.”

The Scotland head coach, Gregor Townsend, speaks to Amazon Prime: “It’s a huge occasion … 2017 was a very special night [the last time the All Blacks came to Scotland] … and it was a cracking match. We know we’ll have to deliver a similar but even better performance today to win.

“Finn’s been very good [in training] … he got in on Tuesday. He’s led the attack really well … you can see in their faces, this is a big game for the players, a big opportunity for them. They might not get to play New Zealand again so we’re going to do everything we can to win.

“It’s great weather today so it could be attacking rugby, it could be kick-chase, it could be up front. We’ve got to manage all those moments.”

Team news

Gregor Townsend makes three changes to the side that defeated Fiji last week. The headline is, of course, Finn Russell starting at No 10 in place of the injured Adam Hastings.

Fraser Brown comes in for the injured George Turner at hooker, and the centre Sione Tuipulotu starts at No 12 in place of Cameron Redpath.

The All Blacks make seven changes overall, with Beauden Barrett coming in at No 10.

Scotland: Hogg; Graham, Harris, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe; Russell, Price; Schoeman, Brown, Z Fagerson, R Gray, Gilchrist, Ritchie (capt), Watson, M Fagerson. Replacements: Ashman, Sutherland, Nel, J Gray, Dempsey, White, Kinghorn, Bennett

New Zealand: J Barrett; Telea, Lienert-Brown, Havili, Clarke; B Barrett, Christie; De Groot, Taukei’aho, Laulala, Whitelock (capt), S Barrett, A Ioane, Papali’i, Savea. Replacements: Taylor, Bower, Newell, Vaa’i, Frizell, Perenara, Perofeta, R Ioane

Michael Aylwin

Michael Aylwin

Finn Russell. Discuss. Which is more or less all those in Scottish rugby have been doing for the past couple of weeks. The discussion, mercifully, will pause for 80 minutes on Sunday when the mercurial genius will do his thing at Murrayfield against the All Blacks, reinstated from nowhere at No 10. Then, no doubt, the debate will resume in earnest, the tenor of it determined by whichever way the mercury has flowed.

Preamble

It’s already been quite a weekend. From the Black Ferns’ epic Rugby World Cup final win against England, to Italy’s first win against Australia, and a blockbuster match between France and South Africa in Marseille last night, it feels like we’ve seen it all.

Following a one-point loss against the Wallabies and a 28-12 win against Fiji eight days ago, Scotland now face an All Blacks team that put 55 points on Wayne Pivac’s Wales in Cardiff. What will Gregor Townsend’s post-Autumn Nations Series report card say? We’ll have a better idea in a couple of hours’ time.

Kick-off: 2.15pm