Reaction to the game was:
Scotland on Sunday: “There have been closer games against New Zealand on the scoreboard but few of them have been closer on the field of play where only the clinical finishing of the All Blacks separated the sides…Scotland dominated long parts of this match and they defended heroically, with the exception of the start of the second half when the Kiwis scored two tries, a third coming late in the game.
“Scotland were full of intent, accurate and full of belligerence and how the Murrayfield crowd responded, the atmosphere matching the team’s intensity.”
Sunday Herald (Scotland-Craig Chalmers): “So near yet so far. By far the best performance against the All Blacks since 1990 in Auckland but, in the end, another heartbreaker and another in the long lists of games where Scotland could have bagged that most coveted of scalps – but didn’t…
“You have got to give it to New Zealand. They are so clinical. One little lull in the Scotland performance and they picked up the scores that took them clear…
“New Zealand, though, are a team that have the knack of finding a way to squeeze out games like this. That is why they are the best team in the world and Scotland have never beaten them. They were not at their best because Scotland did not let them play at their best. Still they came through.”
Scottish Mail on Sunday: “Scotland’s search for a first win against New Zealand goes on – but John Barclay’s heroic team wrote one of the most exhilarating chapters into the 112 years of defeats to the world’s No.1 team.
“The raucous standing ovation afforded the Scotland team at the finish from the capacity crowd – after an agonising last ditch tackle by Beauden Barrett denied man of the match Stuart Hogg from grabbing a dramatic late score – underlined the respect held for the team and the quality of a performance that had Murrayfield believing an historic first victory, just might, be occurring.”
The Sunday Telegraph: “Scotland fell agonisingly short of pulling of the greatest result in their history. New Zealand finished the final 20 minutes with 14 men, desperately wobbling against the ropes, but Scotland could not apply the knockout blow…
“For much of the contest it was difficult to tell which side were the double world champions. Partly that was because of New Zealand’s sloppiness, which has been a recurring threm throughout 2017, but mainly it was because Scotland were simply the better side, particularly in a strangely compelling first half that finished 3-3…
“As is their wont, New Zealand let few chances slip. Hooker Codie Taylor and fullback Damian McKenzie finished well-worked scores before an outrageous Sonny Bill Williams offload to what proved to be Barrett’s match-winning score.
“It was a piece of skill worthy of winning any game.”
The Sunday Times (Jim Hamilton): “As a collective effort, from players, coaches and crowd, that’s the best I’ve ever seen from Scotland. I’m not talking about it being the best or more polished performance – although it was exceptional, and a vast improvement on Samoa [last week].
“We’ve seen Scotland teams come close before, but this was different. I genuinely think that effort, and the belief that will come from it, have the potential to effect a major change in how Scottish rugby is perceived and how we see ourselves. Given the circumstances in which it was delivered, the energy, accuracy and clarity, that went into it, I consider it a bigger statement of intent than beating Australia in the summer.
“Once the dust has settled, the learning curve will be about having to be on it for the full 80 minutes against this calibre of opposition, and there were parts of the game where Scotland did let New Zealand slip off the hook…It was a night when Scotland needed to get everything right, and for everything to go their way. That they suffered a fair whack of adversity and still came so close speaks volumes both for their courage and the way that these players have been coached.”