Yeah, probably of limited interest. And I’m writing this in pieces. But…
That 80 minutes was what sport is meant to be about. One group of players combined better than the other group to produce a result. That’s the stark truth.
But the story..the drama…the emotions… It’s so much more than that.
Scotland rarely win this. We’re underresourced, underfinanced; frankly, second best in most categories. But what Stern Vern and Gregor have give given us back is pride in playing for the team, the jersey, and the fans. The marketing slogan of #asone is resonating. Even JK Rowling has signed up.
This is like Norwich City beating Manchester City; it’s like… Actually, I don’t have a comparator. We didn’t squeak a win here, we got the result on merit. We earned the points, and just gutsed out the last 20 minutes.
I’m so proud of the team right now. Players who were never rated are outshining other flashier names; players who had rocky games last time out came back resoundingly. But more than that; much more than that. When you support Scotland over 40 years, you get used to getting cuffed by all and sundry. So you start to look at why you support your team. Because you feel a part share in ownership of the team. I’ve long since reconciled myself to the equation that s long I know the team bust themselves for the shirt, I’ll live with the result.
And then Vern turned up. And then the equation changed. Expectations changed, and now the hope started to kill. We were actually in with a shout against most teams (there’s a far more technical breakdown, but only rugby nerds would appreciate it). They were still playing for the shirt, but now with aspiration.
England’s always the big one. Australia and NZ? Pah. England is how we judge ourselves. The losing win in 2000 is the best example of that. As long as we show up against those over rated, arrogant, self important, complacent…[insert epithet of choice], everything’s OK. I’ve watched since th elate 70s. I know whereof I speak.
So what about today? 25-13. Comfortable, in some respects. Low stress win, since we were 22-6 at half time. And yet I am in absolute pieces at the keyboard. I’ve already e-mailed the neighbors to apologize about the noise.
We weren’t supposed to win. Read the press and we weren’t expected to show up. England, right? At a canter.
We showed up. Everyone showed up from minute 1 to minute 80. First choice, replacement, everyone. It was a gutsy, gutsy, performance. And everyone was quality. Start of the tournament, who would have heard of Jones or Horne? John Barclay is never on anyone’s top players. What this game proved is rugby is a team game, and everyone in blue subscribes to that view. They all showed the doubters wrong.
Incoherent? Possibly. Drunken ramblings? Probably. But for me, and thousands, this was a momentous day. We won. We won, with skill, with heart, with guts, with a great Coach (trust me on this. He is, and he will be. He’s the rugby Pep). We outmatched our opponents. Hey Owen Farrell, how does THAT feel? We put together a performance that left people proud, and for those of us in the USA, in absolute pieces in front of the TV, shouting.