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John Barclay deflated after Scotland come up short against New Zealand

John Barclay deflated after Scotland come up short against New Zealand

Alas, it was not to be, but this was their most valiant attempt for more than 30 years. "He is a very valuable player for us".

"We know Australia better than New Zealand having played them twice in the last 12 months, including in the summer so it'll be fresh in the memories of the players", added the coach. If he wasn't leaving luminaries like Kieran Read clutching at air, he was sending monstrous kicks spiralling over their heads, scudding sweetly into corners.

The whole pack, played a huge part but Jonny Gray and captain John Barclay were vast. Otherwise, it was over to Barclay, of slightly larger build but no less of a thorn in the visitors' side, both in attack and defence.

Stuart Hogg dejected after losing against the All Blacks. Finn Russell converted to cut the deficit to five points. At times, typically of a good team playing above themselves, excess excitement proved a problem.

The ominous shadow hanging over Murrayfield darkened early in the second half. The ball was sent right and when it was swung back left, Taylor was still there. They should have won that game.

Try two followed within minutes. When they were attacking five metres from the line they didn't create like New Zealand did.

But Scotland found another gear. They can still get off the line and put those hits in.

John Barclay deflated after Scotland come up short against New Zealand
John Barclay deflated after Scotland come up short against New Zealand

Eventually the Scots took a quick tap and Gray squirmed over for the try, Russell converting. From a scrum, a whirl of runners bewildered Scotland's midfield.

Stuart Hogg's mazy run with time running out almost opened up the tiring All Black defence for a try that would have tied the scores, but he was just unable to free the pass inside and time expired with the Scots frustratingly short.

"Yellow card. quite possibly (a try), quite possibly a penalty try". It was not to be.

For Price, the desolation felt by his team-mates at the knowledge that they had let the opportunity to become the first Scotland side in 112 years to beat the All Blacks will be a major driver for Saturday's Test against the Wallabies.

"It was a massive challenge, and we certainly knew it was going to be that way".

But the Scottish defence was huge inside their own 22 in stark contrast to the Samoa game, forcing a forward pass from Barrett as New Zealand threatened, another Barclay turnover and then a brilliant steal at the back of a scrum by Ali Price keeping the All Blacks at bay.

Scotland had to be disappointed with the first half, not that they ever looked like capitulating as some had predicted, but that they didn't have a handy lead with a territory and possession advantage, especially in the first 20 minutes. For a split second Murrayfield erupted as Hogg looked to be away down the left, but his desperate inside pass was forward, and Murrayfield was denied its most famous moment.

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