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Thursday, October 21, 1999 Published at 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK


Scotland will do it for Jim

Scotland hope they won't take Jonah Lomu lying down

News Online's Scottish rugby analyst and former international John Beattie says Scotland have never beaten the All Blacks, but they will give it their best shot for pride and retiring coach Jim Telfer.

Look, I hate to name drop. So me and Jonah were talking. No, we really were. We were, honest. I even got his autograph!

The All Blacks have the most incredible PR machine you have ever seen, with all of their players available for what looked like it was going to be a media scrum, but it wasn't.

Over here was Jonah Lomu, just by there was Jeff Wilson, and all of them were on demand. And the Scottish media - which includes me - went along to rub up close to them for ourselves.


[ image: Scotland vs Samoa: A creditable performance]
Scotland vs Samoa: A creditable performance
But I'm getting ahead of myself. It was a creditable performance by Scotland against the Samoans on Wednesday that has given most of the Scottish public the wobblies, because the men from the long white cloud have come to perform their Haka, beat the locals, and then go to the semi-finals.

Given that Dunedin is just New Zealand for Edinburgh, they feel at home in our capital, except we don't have quite as many sheep to clear from city centres.

At every World Cup in the past, we Scots have been ejected by the All Blacks - except when England beat us in 1991.

After a workmanlike and efficient win over Samoa - where Gregor Townsend kicked more than he ran, the pack swarmed like wolves, and Inga Tuigamala provided some dummy practise for coping with Jonah Lomu - there was relief that we are one of the top eight rugby nations of the world. Unlike Ireland. Oops! Sorry!

All Black yardstick

But if you're a Scot, you know that the big thing here is that if Scotland lose then this is the last game we will see Jim Telfer in charge as national coach.

The guy is worth millions, and the eternal irony is that his beloved boys in blue - or tangerine - might go out against the team he has used as his yardstick since time began.


[ image: Jim Telfer: Will retire after the World Cup]
Jim Telfer: Will retire after the World Cup
Jim Telfer, underneath the hardness, is a soft man, a kind man, but a man who loves his rugby and the New Zealand way, with pace and rucking and skill, more than any other.

Telfer denies it, but every Scotland player will be battling to try to do it for him, for Jim Telfer.

Mind you, the facts are terrifying. Scotland have never beaten New Zealand. The closest we came was in 1983 when it was a 25-25 draw. Jonah Lomu would get a game as the whole front row for Scotland such is his bulk.

But all Scots hope that we can give the world a game of pride, where we can show that we are not overawed as a nation, and where we can show that in Tom Smith, Gregor Townsend, Scott Murray, and Gary Armstrong, there are players of world class.

And there are the youngsters as well. It all depends on the pack though, and New Zealand have stars all through the side.

So what were me and Jonah saying? He's a good bloke, and it's on telly later in the week. Kamate, Kamate, Kaora, Kaora to you all. It's the Haka of course. See you on Sunday!



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