After a sensible selection of autumn opponents this season, the SRU have gone chasing the big Black dollar again in announcing next year’s autumn opponents will be South Africa (yup), Samoa (yup) and New Zealand’s All Blacks (poo). Other than encouraging the large and wonderful ex-pat kiwi population here in the UK to come and make Murrayfield feel like the Cake Tin for the day (ie mostly filled with New Zealanders) and spend their money on Princes Street, I’m not sure how this helps a developing Scottish team. Sure, you get to “measure yourself against the best” but we already know they are about 7 foot something and we are about 5 foot. After that it’s just a matter of deciding the inches and another loss we fans aren’t really interested in watching, which leads to more criticism of our apathy and poor attendances. “Oh but it’s the All Blacks,” I hear you say. It’s not the 1970s any more where they come by boat, they are over here every year, half their guys have played in the GP or in France and we can watch the Super 14/Tri Nations on the telly (if we want to). Most of the rugby world is over the haka. There is no novelty, and their “kick it then counter attack when they make a mistake” game works worryingly well against a team as error prone as ours still is.
Having run South Africa close a few years back, it should be more about improving to the stage where we can actually beat them – the All Blacks still seem like a step too far in the space of three weeks. Why not play them closer to the World Cup, or just wait to spring one on them in the knockout stages, eh?
It has just occurred to me that I forgot yesterday to mention Glasgow’s great win over Gloucester yesterday…I was away over the weekend so I missed most of the HC action on TV but I managed to catch the Edinburgh game when I got home (decent game, silly substitutions lost it) and wandered along to Goldenacre on Saturday to watch Heriots take Boroughmuir apart. There was some decent stuff played in front of a small but vocal crowd, £10 to get in was a bit steep though I thought…marginally warmer than going to watch Highland…
UPDATE: papers are reporting that in addition to getting beaten by the All Blacks again, we won’t be able to watch either the autumn internationals or the Argentina tour on TV because no-one wants to broadcast them. Apart from possibly STV, which can’t afford to.