I was delighted to see my prediction of an Argentina win blown out of the water at the weekend!
I wasn’t expecting it and full credit where it’s due, because Scotland were superb; at least for 70 minutes.
They got stuck in like no other Scottish side I’ve seen recently, and the influence of Glasgow Warriors’ 10 starting players was a big factor.
There were a number of things on show at BT Murrayfield which were most encouraging to witness.
The way Scotland came back instantly when conceding a try was a good sign, and the defence and discipline for most of the match was pleasing, but the confidence in which the team played the game was a joy to behold, and if this is the new way for Scotland under Vern Cotter then I fully subscribe to it.
The players sent out a message to their coach.
The 15 picked all want to play against New Zealand on Saturday and with a performance like this they literally dared Vern Cotter to drop them, so I expect, when the team is announced today (I’m writing this on Monday), there will be no changes.
There was real bite in attack, Greig Laidlaw had one of his best games in a Scottish jersey, and the combination of the Gray brothers worked in every department.
After receiving much criticism in the past, it’s fair to point out that Ross Ford delivered a good all-round performance, hitting his target often and carrying ball well in the loose.
Shape is inevitably lost when the mass substitutions take place in the last few minutes, and while the game was virtually won at that point, with a 41-17 lead in the bag, it was nevertheless disappointing to see Scotland leak two converted tries at the end.
While they got away with having two players yellow-carded against Argentina, they cannot afford to play 20 minutes with 14 men against New Zealand on Saturday.
The boys will go into this game with confidence, and physically they will be ready.
The problem in facing the All Blacks, though, has always been a mental one and it’s haunted them for more than a century.
Can this Scottish team achieve the impossible? If they truly believe, then they can do it. They’ll need to play the entire 80 minutes at the top of their game. Laidlaw won’t find the gaps he found against Argentina, and they’ll need to tackle as if their lives depend on it.
They’ll take heart from the Argentina game, and they’ll remember Ireland almost did it last year when they went 17 points up and almost held on.
I got last week’s prediction very wrong, and I’ll love it if I’m wrong again this Saturday!
Go on boys, create history!