HOW do you begin to overcome such overwhelming odds and pull off a win against the World champions?
That is Andy Robinson’s task as he attempts to lead Scotland to a first ever win against the mighty All Blacks.
Scotland are 20/1, while you can risk £100 of your money to win just £4 on a New Zealand victory.
New Zealand haven’t lost for almost 20 matches, they are World champions, they have been crowned Kings of the Southern Hemisphere and are at the top of their game right now.
Scotland have only managed two draws against them in more than 100 years and haven’t played together since the successful Pacific tour in June.
Edinburgh are having a disastrous start to the season. Glasgow have done better, but both pro teams are as good as out of the money-spinning Heineken Cup.
Scotland also has an injury list which is growing alarmingly.
The national side is to being underdogs and the pressure is clearly off them, so they have nothing to lose and new captain Kelly Brown, who wins his 50th cap on Sunday, will try his best to inspire his players in front of a sell-out crowd who are not turning up to see Scotland thrashed. All they ask for will be a performance to make a nation proud, and the longer they can go in the match without conceding points, the more the supporters will get behind their team.
From a Borders perspective, the region is well represented. Brown is back after injury, Ross Ford is at hooker, Geoff Cross is in the front row, Greig Laidlaw is selected at fly half and Stuart Hogg is wearing 15. Sadly, no Lee Jones this time, but hopefully he will get a chance later to show Robinson why he was wrong to drop him. It all kicks off at 2.30pm on Sunday and it will be quite an occasion.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Sean Lamont, Nick De Luca, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Greig Laidlaw, Mike Blair; Ryan Grant, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Richie Gray, Jim Hamilton, Ross Rennie, Alasdair Strokosch, Kelly Brown. Subs: Scott Lawson, Allan Jacobsen, Kyle Traynor, Alastair Kellock, David Denton, Henry Pyrgos, Ruaridh Jackson, Max Evans.
Read Stuart Cameron’s column ‘Stuart on Scotland’ in next week’s Southern and throughout the Autumn Test campaign.
z Jed-Forest coach Darren Cunningham has stood down from the post with immediate effect.
President Billy Grieve made the announcement on Sunday, citing the bad start to the 2012/13 season, which sees the team at the bottom of the National League.
He said: “Our recent bad run of results are against where Jed-Forest want to be in Scottish Rugby.
“Darren has always shown dedication and enthusiasm during his role, however, it is results that matter and to that end he has failed to deliver this season.
“We wish Darren well for the future. The club will now seek to appoint a new head coach in due course.”
Cunningham took Jed to the top of Premier C and Premiership Two in successive seasons, as well as winning the Kings of the 7s trophy earlier this year, but, having lost several key players over the summer, the team have won just one game this campaign.
z See panel at foot of page for this weekends’s local fixtures, while previews for Gala and Melrose’s Premiership matches will be posted at www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk once teams are announced.