Robinson: We let the nation down
November 13, 2010
Scotland rue sloppy display%]
Head coach Andy Robinson had no complaints after Scotland's frailties were ruthlessly exposed as New Zealand claimed a 49-3 victory at Murrayfield.
The All Blacks scored seven tries through Hosea Gear (two), Mils Muliaina (two), Dan Carter, Conrad Smith and Andy Ellis, with fly-half Carter adding five conversions and his replacement Stephen Donald two.
Dan Parks' third-minute penalty was the only thing Scotland had to show for their attacking enterprise, with the All Blacks defence proving impenetrable. Captain Mike Blair and centre Max Evans went off injured, but their injuries were not as bad as first feared despite scrum-half Blair being unable to attend the post-match press conference.
Blair went off late in the first half with a head injury and the game ended prematurely with Evans taken off on a stretcher after a blow to his shoulder, reviving memories of the career-ending neck break suffered by his brother Thom against Wales in the RBS 6 Nations in February.
"We let the nation down today and it's about how we come back from that," Robinson said. "I thought New Zealand were outstanding in the way they played the game of rugby and we were unable to match that.
"It was a dose of reality about what international rugby is about. They expose you and they're great runners. The support play of their outside backs is tremendous." Robinson was relieved Evans' injury was not as bad as first feared. He added: "Mike had a head knock and was pretty blurred. Max got a stinger (shoulder injury). He's walking around now, which we're delighted to know."
Scotland beat Australia in Robinson's second Test in charge 12 months ago and were unbeaten in four Tests prior to tonight's defeat. A Six Nations draw against England was followed by victory over Ireland in Dublin and a 2-0 series success in Argentina.
Sonny Bill Williams was a constant threat to the Scottish defence during New Zealand's comfortable win © Getty Images
Asked whether he was surprised by the margin of defeat against the world's number one nation, Robinson added: "It's reality for us, in terms of where we are. Every game we play we've got to be right at our best."
New Zealand are now halfway through their Home Nations tour as they seek a third Grand Slam in five years, following the successes in 2005 and 2008, and meet Ireland in Dublin next weekend. Captain Richie McCaw was pleased with the manner of victory, having been unhappy with parts of the 26-16 win over England at Twickenham a week earlier.
McCaw said: "There were things we wanted to work on from last week, building pressure and making better decisions. We didn't let them off the hook like we perhaps did last week."
Head coach Graham Henry paid tribute to Scotland in an expansive game and was thrilled with his side's defence.
"I think we should also give the Scots a pat on the back, they're pretty rusty, they haven't played since June," said Henry. "They played some good attacking football at times and put us under pressure.
"I think we defended very well. I know that Smithy (assistant coach Wayne Smith) was delighted with the defence - it's the best its been for quite some time."
Man of the match Sonny Bill Williams was influential, with the All Blacks benefiting from his ability to pass out of the tackle.
Henry added: "He'll be pretty pleased with the way he's playing and he has got an amazing ability to offload the ball in the tackle. I don't think I've ever seen any rugby player with that sort of skill before. I think he'll get more confident and even go to a higher standard in future."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside