History not on Scotland's side
October 21, 1999
Scotland will be aiming to re-write the record books when the face tournament favourites New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-finals at Murrayfield on Sunday.
An efficient 35-20 victory over Samoa on Wednesday earned the Five Nations champions the dubious pleasure of a last-eight meeting with the mighty All Blacks.
History is very much on New Zealand's side.
In 20 meetings between the All Blacks and the Scots, the New Zealanders have won 18 times. Two draws - in 1964 and 1983 - mark the only times the Scots have avoided defeat.
"It is going to be difficult because they have so many good players and can change their game plan around," said Scotland assistant coach John Rutherford.
"Yesterday, we pinpointed Va'aiga Tuigamala and Pat Lam and had two men on them every time they had the ball.
"But you can't really employ the same tactic against New Zealand.
"The likes of Christian Cullen, Jonah Lomu and Jeff Wilson are individual threats in their own right.
"Andrew Mehrtens is a better kicker than anything the Samoans have and if you talk about stopping them at source, the All Black pack can hardly be described as a weak link.
"We have to take every chance that comes our way and hope they are not quite right. If we are to have any chance at all we must be absolutely spot on."
The one advantage Scotland do have is the inside knowledge of the six New Zealand-born players in the home camp.
All but injured centre John Leslie could be involved on Sunday, playing against the team they dreamed of appearing for as young boys. However, inside knowledge is likely play only a minor role.
"We all know how good New Zealand are. How much more can the guys tell us?" Rutherford asked.
"The coaches were discussing them at a meeting this morning and we were talking about Lomu. How do you devise a strategy to stop a 6ft 5in, 18 stone man, who is very quick and has a sidestep?
"England thought they had worked him out last week, but he still scored."
Scotland got a boost Thursday when it was confirmed that flanker Budge Pountney will be fit after having stitches inserted in a wound close to the tear duct in his eye following an accidental collision during the second half of the game against Samoa.
Scotland coach Jim Telfer will name his starting line-up on Friday.