sonny bill
International Rugby, Opinions

Sonny Bill’s brilliance sinks feisty Scots

It took the attacking brilliance of Sonny Bill Williams to ensure New Zealand avoided a first ever defeat to Scotland.

Williams’s attacking game is without comparison when he is on song and he was at his best in the tackle and offload to give New Zealand the try-scoring moment that set up a 22-17 win.

Scotland were monumental in the first half and led 3-0 for 35 minutes. They dominated every facet of play and played the game at pace and with intent. But the least spoken about aspect of the All Blacks is their defence. The world’s best team knows how to play without the ball. They know how to defend, how to turn over the most decisive of scrums and also how to play the big moments.

Williams was at the heart of those big moments in Edinburgh for an All Blacks team that, frankly, looks exhausted.

The All Blacks seem to be doing just enough to win – and on the odd occasion post the unbeaten Rugby Championship campaign it hasn’t been enough; cue Brisbane against Australia.

The Scots must be applauded for commitment, attacking intent and belief.

They fought back from 15-3 after the predictable All Blacks double score, to trail 15-10.

Williams then seemed to make the game safe for the All Blacks with his trademark offload in the tackle that commits four defenders and results in a New Zealand try.

Still, Scotland would not go away and typically of the All Blacks season they stumbled in the last five minutes when historically they stride over the line.

Scotland scored again on the 77th minute and only a desperate Beauden Barrett cross cover tackle on the impressive Scottish fullback Stuart Hogg denied the home team what would have been a history-making win.

Alas it was not to be and Scotland, like so many before them, will wonder how they did so much to beat the All Blacks but still ended up losing.


Scotland 17 (3)

Tries: Jonny Gray, Huw Jones

Conversions: Finn Russell (2)

Penalty: Russell

All Blacks 22 (3)

Tries: Codie Taylor, Damian McKenzie, Beauden Barrett

Conversions: Barrett (2)

Penalty: Barrett



15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Darryl Marfo

Substitutes: 16 George Turner, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Byron McGuigan

New Zealand

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Kane Hames

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

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