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Brave Scotland fall just short of famous win over the All Blacks

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New Zealand's Jeremy Thrush scores the winning try against Scotland during their Autumn International rugby union match at Murrayfield

New Zealand's Jeremy Thrush scores the winning try against Scotland during their Autumn International rugby union match at Murrayfield

Reuters

New Zealand's Jeremy Thrush scores the winning try against Scotland during their Autumn International rugby union match at Murrayfield

Scotland pushed world champions New Zealand close before bravely going down 24-16 at Murrayfield.

Victor Vito gave the All Blacks an early lead as he powered home with the opening try before Tommy Seymour's intercept score gave the hosts an immediate response.

Both team's respective kickers Dan Carter and Grieg Laidlaw kept the score close with three penalties apiece but a successful kick from the boot of Colin Slade and Jeremy Thrush's late score finally put daylight between the sides as New Zealand claimed their 28th win from 30 Tests against the Dark Blues.

The Scots were fired up from the off and made decent territory with their first drive before the Kiwis were able to get solid foot in defence. But even with a host of big names rested, the world champions remain dangerous from any position on the park.

Scrum-half TJ Perenara's pass to Victor Vito was poor but the number eight scooped it up before powering 25 yards forward while holding off Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg and then impressively finishing in the corner. Carter, though, missed the conversion.

But like last week against Argentina, Scotland responded to an early setback almost immediately.

Tommy Seymour - the scorer of a brilliant intercept try against the Pumas - repeated the trick as he pounced on McCaw's loose pass and ran in unopposed for the equalising score before Laidlaw added the extras.

New Zealand were right back on the front foot though and after stretching Scotland thin, heaved their way into scoring range down the left before Perenara thought he had dived over.

But after consulting the TMO, Romain Poite was not convinced the All Black number nine had grounded the ball and chalked the score off. Carter did, however, score his first penalty to move New Zealand in front again.

Having already had to put on Sean Lamont after losing centre Mark Bennett to a hamstring tear, stand-off Finn Russell was forced off momentarily with a blood injury, meaning an brief introduction for Duncan Weir. But the Glasgow 10's first involvement saw him wander offside, handing Carter another three points.

Laidlaw thought he had kept his side in touch his own successful shot at the posts but Carter ensured the All Blacks went in four points ahead when he slotted over his third penalty of the match.

The Scots made a whirlwind start to the second period but while they could not find a way through the visitors' defence, they were happy to accept another three points as centre Malakai Fekitoa was caught offside inside his own 22.

At the other end, the All Blacks looked to turn the screw but both at the set-piece and the break-down, Scotland stood up boldly to the challenge.

Carter's departure as he was replaced by Liam Messam was a welcome sight for Scotland but gaining ground was proving to be an almost Herculean task.

With Carter off, Colin Slade took over New Zealand's kicking duties and finally added to the All Black's tally 26 minutes into the second half. But Laidlaw again trimmed the world champions' lead back with his third penalty.

When Wyatt Crockett blocked Laidlaw's attempt to spread the play from an offside position, Scotland were handed the chance to nudge themselves in front with another penalty. But the sold-out Murrayfield groaned as the skipper missed with his boot for the first time.

A streaker lightened the mood briefly but Scotland were not laughing as New Zealand pushed forward. Again the Scots were having to defend desperately but the pressure finally told as Jeremy Thursh found a gap in the home rear-guard to squeeze over from close range, while Slade put the Kiwis out of sight with the conversion.

Online Editors