This blog owes Andy Robinson, Ross Ford and the Scottish rugby team an apology. Before the Scotland squad headed out on its Southern Hemisphere tour, Desperate Rugby believed – and we may well have shared this view with others – that our national side would do well to win any matches and that by the time New Zealand arrive at Murrayfield in the autumn we’d be neck-deep in a 10 game losing streak.
Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong.
This being Scotland, of course, many in our number have already embarked on a ‘success-limitation’ excercise and trotted out all sorts of excuses for our victories… Australia had their minds on the Wales game, Fiji were under-strength, it won’t count ’til we do it in the Six Nations etc. etc.
So what? It’s test rugby and a win is a win is a win.
Scotland’s Pacific tour is markedly less high profile than Wales in Australia, Ireland in New Zealand and England in South Africa. And so it should be. The other teams have earned the spotlight by outperforming us in recent years.
Like it or not, when it comes to top grade international rugby we are on the outside looking in at the moment and only consistent success against high-ranking opposition will change that.
But all things must pass. Ireland, Wales and England have had their troubles in the not too distant past. Scotland’s time will come again – and soon, please God – but when it does hopefully we’ll have learned something from our current status as also-rans.
The Fiji leg of this Scotland tour has felt like a throwback to a distant age. Scotland have attended presentations and ceremonies in Fiji (the videos of these visits are great and you can see them on YouTube) and Saturday’s impromptu inter-team huddle after the final whistle was clear proof that rugby can still unite people from wildly different cultures through a shared love of the game.
There’s an obvious joke about Glasgow and Edinburgh in that last sentence but this blog is going to strive for higher things.
One thing that’s achingly clear is that it has meant a lot to Fijians to have what they consider to be a ‘big’ team come to their country on tour. Scotland have made all sorts of friends this summer and hopefully they’ll make a few more in Samoa.
Scottish rugby will recover some of it’s lustre at some point. And when it does, one hopes the SRU will remember the people who made our boys feel like kings when our game was at its lowest ebb.