Here’s how Scotland could actually make the 2015 Rugby World Cup final.
Pool Stages: Scotland are startled by Japan but put the hurt on the physical USA team to see them through the first couple of games. South Africa are initially stunned by the sight of WP Nel and Josh Strauss without a beard lining up against them, but recover to put Scotland away in the dying minutes and overall they top the group. The closest result comes in the final game against Samoa who mount a stern case for inclusion in the knockouts. Backed by a strong Newcastle crowd, Finn Russell creates a moment of magic and Scotland cling on for a single point win with a scuffed drop goal.
QF: With Fiji (led by Leone Nakarawa) having a strong influence on the outcome of Pool A, Scotland face the only southern hemisphere team they’ve beaten with any great success in recent years. Despite this, the entire Australian squad are photographed coming out of Chinawhite with the cast of Made in Chelsea in the early hours of Sunday morning. The home crowd are unable to decide which team they want to triumph the least, while Taqele Naiyaravoro watches from the sidelines and decides we’re not such a bad bunch after all. Drizzly rain and the fact Australian players keep throwing up at the side of the pitch allows Scotland to grind out a 9-6 win.
SF: After the misery of the previous week England is swathed in a blistering Indian Summer and suddenly it’s ‘taps aff’ weather across the country for the final two rounds. Ireland come out of the blocks like the clappers but as the sun takes hold the ginger-haired warriors from the Emerald Isle (and Rob Harley) wilt in the heat. However, Scotland’s Southern Hemisphere contingent take control in conditions resembling the Highveld and nudge a late, but deserved, 21-18 victory.
Final: Scotland 3-108 New Zealand. And you thought this was a work of fiction.
You can use the tool below from SuperBru to work out your own permutations for the knockout stages (they set the defaults, not us).
If anyone’s interested we might get involved with some SuperBru games over the tournament.
Additional “reporting” from Cammy Black and Al Kerr