Valiant Scotland fall short against clinical All Blacks
New Zealand held off a battered and bruised Scotland to earn a hard-fought 22-17 victory at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Codie Taylor and Damian McKenzie took advantage of a series of injuries suffered by an already depleted Scotland team to force two tries in a five-minute spell early in the second half in Edinburgh.
The hosts valiantly fought back to score through Jonny Gray, as the All Blacks were twice reduced to 14 men in the second half, with Sam Cane and Wyatt Crockett both sent to the sin bin.
New Zealand still managed conjure up a brilliant third try, scored in the 67th minute by Beauden Barrett, who converted his own score.
Scotland were not finished, though - Stuart Hogg's perfectly weighted kick releasing Tommy Seymour to break and set up Huw Jones for a 78th-minute score that Russell converted.
And Hogg even had one last chance to draw or snatch the win right at the death, Barrett tackling him into touch with the final play of the game, as Scotland's wait for a first Test victory over the southern hemisphere heavyweights continues.
Steve Hansen's powerhouse team, who defeated France last time out, now turn their attention to a Test against Wales in Cardiff next weekend, when Scotland play host to the Wallabies.
Despite being without prop WP Nel and back row Ryan Wilson, it was the hosts who made the faster start against a strong All Blacks XV.
Scotland were rewarded for their early pressure in the sixth minute when Waisake Naholo went in off his feet at the breakdown to give away a penalty that Finn Russell kicked.
Scotland lost flanker Hamish Watson to a suspected back injury in the 28th minute, to be replaced by debutant Luke Hamilton.
Gregor Townsend's team continued to make the visitors work hard but the All Blacks managed to go in level at the break, as John Barclay was penalised for not rolling away after a Rieko Ioane breakaway, Barrett sending over the penalty to make it 3-3 at half-time.
New Zealand clicked into gear early in the second half, Ioane setting up Taylor to score the first try of the match after the same pair had led a breakaway that left Alex Dunbar down hurt.
Barrett narrowly missed the conversion attempt but Scotland suffered a further blow when Watson's replacement Hamilton was taken off on a stretcher with a potentially serious knee injury.
The All Blacks took advantage of the further disruption to extend their lead. A line-out and aggressive maul created space for Sonny Bill Williams to poke a clever grubber kick through the Scotland defence, and McKenzie gathered the ball to dot down.
This time Barrett did add the extras but Scotland refused to give up. A period of heavy pressure on the New Zealand try line led to successive penalties and saw Cane shown a yellow card, Gray burrowing over from close range soon after.
Russell made no mistake with the conversion to close the gap to five points with 18 minutes remaining.
Their hard work was undone when Peter Horne took his eye off Williams during a swift attack, the inside centre brilliantly offloading to McKenzie, who in turn played Barrett into space to score.
Crockett followed Cane into the bin soon after that and Scotland pounced through Jones' thrilling try, but Hogg narrowly failed to snatch a try that could have earned a memorable victory right at the death.