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Zinzan Brooke column

Zinzan Brooke
By Zinzan Brooke
All Blacks legend

I want New Zealand to beat the hell out of Scotland on Saturday.

Scotland's Ali Hogg tries to stop New Zealand's Byron Kelleher
Last year's World Cup pool match was a struggle for all concerned
People have questioned why the All Blacks are not playing their strongest side, but for me the Scots are getting a taste of their own medicine.

I lost interest in Scottish rugby because of what they did at the World Cup last year.

To field a second-string side in a pool match, like they did against New Zealand, was an absolute joke.

They effectively conceded the game by resting their top team, and I don't think it helped their cause or the All Blacks.

New Zealand were under-done when it came to the knock-out stages because they didn't have a decent hit-out in the group games, and ended up losing to France.

PREVIOUS ‘GRAND SLAM’ ATTEMPTS
1905: Beat Scot, Eng, Ire; lost 3-0 to Wales
1924/5: Beat Ire, Wal, Eng; Not invited to play Scot
1935/6: Beat Scot & Ire; lost to Wales & Eng
1953/4: Lost 13-8 to Wales; Beat Ire, Eng, Scot
1963/4: Beat Ire, Wal, Eng; Drew 0-0 in Scot
1967: Beat Eng, Wal, Sco; Could not play Ire due to foot 'n mouth
1972/3: Beat Wal, Sco & Eng; Drew 10-10 in Ire
1978: Beat Ire 10-6, Wales 13-12, Eng 16-6, Scot 18-9
2005: Beat Wal 41-3, Ire 45-7, Eng 23-19, Scot 29-10
But I think Scotland lost their way as well after that. OK, you could argue they achieved their goal by beating Italy and scraping into the last eight.

But if they had been a bit more battle-hardened they could have knocked Argentina off and made it to the semi-finals. They should have won that game.

They had a whole week to prepare between games and it still annoys me thinking about what they did now.

So for that reason I'd be quite happy for the All Blacks to kick their butts, frankly, as payback for the World Cup.

Even if New Zealand don't have their top team out, they should still be good enough to stick another 40 points on them.

After all, this is the first leg of what could be another Grand Slam over the home nations. Tana Umaga's team did it in 2005 and it would be nice to see them do it again.

The opportunity doesn't come around that often and if you are lucky enough to be part of a 'Grand Slam' tour, you have to make sure it sticks.

606: DEBATE
dropkicksworth1point

I was part of an All Blacks side that did a 'Grand Slam' in the 1995 World Cup - we beat Wales and Ireland in our pool games, then Scotland in the quarter-final and England in the semis - but that was different.

There is something special about coming over here and playing all four countries, and I am sure the coaches will be making sure the younger guys know what it means to New Zealanders.

The All Blacks have an incredible record over here (they have only lost seven out of 60 Tests in Great Britain and Ireland against the home nations - three against Wales, the last in 1953, and four against England - in 1936, 1983, 1993 and 2002).

So when you are part of a team that loses a Test, you think 'how the hell did we lose to those guys?'

I should know. I was part of the team that lost to England (15-9) in 1993. We absolutely cocked it up that day.

Warren Gatland is a wily old dog who will know a fair bit about New Zealand's strengths and weaknesses

We had wiped the floor (51-15) with Scotland the previous week, when Jeff Wilson scored a hat-trick, and were all upbeat, but we got pasted.

Twickenham will be a dangerous fixture this time for the All Blacks, and Wales is the other potential sticking point.

They have got a good coach and will back themselves to do well in Cardiff.

Warren Gatland is a wily old dog who will know a fair bit about New Zealand's strengths and weaknesses, and what motivates Kiwis.

He will know how to rub them up the wrong way, and get his players to try to needle them with the odd jibe at scrum-time.

It is always difficult with the passion of the home nations, but I think New Zealand will be celebrating another 'Grand Slam'.

Zinzan Brooke was talking to BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer



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see also
Blair expects fired-up All Blacks
05 Nov 08 |  Scottish
Scots and All Blacks ring changes
04 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Elliot called up by New Zealand
03 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Australia 14-19 New Zealand
01 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Seven new faces in NZ tour squad
25 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Australia 24-28 New Zealand
13 Sep 08 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 0-40 New Zealand
23 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union


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