Scotland hope to claim a major southern hemisphere scalp at the second attempt against Australia this week after pushing New Zealand all the way at Murrayfield on Saturday, says full-back Stuart Hogg.
The hosts fought back from 15-3 down to lose 22-17 and almost snatched at least a draw with the last move of the match, only for All Blacks No10 Beauden Barrett to tackle Hogg as he darted for the corner.
“There was never a point when I thought the game was dead and buried. I thought it was going right to the very end. It’s just gutting to be sitting here with a defeat,” said Hogg.
“I truly believe we are in a position where we can achieve something special. For us that is the long target, but we take each game as it comes and now we concentrate on Australia, and when the Six Nations come round we will look at that.
“The challenge now is to back that performance up and get the right result next week. It will be a huge challenge for us but that is why you play rugby. We just came up short against the best team in the world for however many years and next week we play the Aussies, who are just as good.”
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen admitted to being impressed by Gregor Townsend’s Scotland.
“Scotland really stood up and were counted and in turn so did we,” said Hansen.
“We expected what we got. Scotland have been slowly improving over the past 12 to 18 months and it was a pretty impressive performance.
“They’re a team on the rise and world rugby has got some good teams, which I reckon is really exciting. Scotland were well in the hunt and could easily have won the game.”