Hogg reminisces about epic New Zealand encounter
This Friday night rugby fans all over the world will be able to re-live Scotland’s memorable Autumn Test match against New Zealand, which was played at BT Murrayfield in November 2017.
The full game will be shown on the Scottish Rugby Facebook page and YouTube channel at 7pm GMT.
As well as the match being remembered as being a close-affair, it will also live long in the memory of supporters as the moment Doddie Weir OBE presented the match ball shortly after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. The former Scotland international presented the ball with his sons in what was an emotional occasion, following a spectacular ‘lights out’ show at the home of Scottish Rugby.
Speaking on this week’s Official Scottish Rugby Podcast, Scotland captain Stuart Hogg said it was a “spine-tingling moment” to witness Weir present the ball in front of a sold-out stadium.
Hogg said: “I absolutely loved it. To have Doddie walk on with his sons before the game was a spine-tingling moment and for us to see Doddie, an absolute legend come on and deliver the match ball, we knew that day we had to put in a performance.
“From a personal point of view, I had the British & Irish Lions tour snatched away from me. I felt I was due New Zealand one and I was doing everything I possibly could to make sure we got the win.”
With New Zealand leading by five points with just two minutes left to play, it was Hogg who broke away down the far side of the pitch and, as he raced for the corner, New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett came across with a late try-saving tackle to deny the Hawick man a historic try.
That moment continues to haunt Hogg even to this day.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve reviewed and watched that last break back. I’ve thought about my try celebration and everything if I was to score it, but it has gone now and you can’t change it, but we can learn from it,” Hogg said.
“It was a belter of tackle. When I got through I could see the try line and genuinely thought I was going to score and out the corner of my eye Beauden Barrett came from nowhere.
“Could I have done anything different? I don’t know, as I say I’ve watched it back so many times and if I just had a stronger left hand to chuck the offload or pull out a bit earlier I don’t know, but look we can’t change it unfortunately but it’s one of these things that if we managed to get it over in the corner I have no doubt that Finn Russell would have nailed the kicked to win the game as well, so it’s one that got away.”
Former Scotland international, Chris Paterson, who co-hosts the Scottish Rugby Podcast, added: “Sometimes there is an incredible aura around a game and that often happens when you play the All Blacks, but it was even more so with the whole Doddie [Weir] thing and then the start Scotland made.
“That was the period Scotland had introduced a tempo and speed into their game that really nobody had played before in terms of getting the ball back into play as quickly as possible. Everyone else in world rugby at that time were kind of following the same trend and now most teams will probably try and quicken the game up. Even the All Blacks, who are famed for playing as quickly and expansively as they do were caught out.
“I was commentating and I actually jumped out of my seat for that last break. I think I thumped Andrew Cotter [BBC commentator] on the head and dropped the headphones and was on my feet, but I must admit Beauden Barrett’s tackle was utterly phenomenal. The speed that he covered that tackle. I don’t think you could have done anything else, not that we want to ruin it for the re-run, but what a tackle.”
Watch Scotland v New Zealand from November 2017 on the Scottish Rugby Facebook page or YouTube channel this Friday at 7pm GMT
Listen to this week’s Official Scottish Rugby Podcast with Stuart Hogg, Dr James Robson MBE and John Manson – hosted by Chris Paterson, Al Kellock and Jamie McMillan.