Deflated. Shellshocked. Crestfallen. Gutted. But most of all, proud. Proud of the job those 23 men did for Scotland yesterday. Proud of the way a team who finished bottom of the 2015 Six Nations with 5 defeats pushed one of the Rugby World Cup
favourites right until the final whistle. Proud of the Scottish fans getting behind the team. Proud of the side scoring 17 tries in their 5 Rugby World Cup matches.
What a day it was in London yesterday. Bernard Foley’s last minute - highly controversial - penalty secured the Wallabies place in the semi-finals at the expense of Scotland
, and First XV were there.
Arriving early, it was time to soak up the pre-match atmosphere, and watch the first quarter final of the day, as Ireland and Argentina went head to head in Cardiff. With a big screen to watch the game on and glorious October sunshine, the outside of Twickenham was already bouncing. An impressive performance from Argentina meant the Scots weren’t just doing it for their country, but for the entire Northern Hemisphere.
And check out the doughnuts!
team bus pulled up, with the coaching staff and players disembarking to the tune of Waltzing Matilda, and enjoying their walk into the stadium. Shortly after came the Scotland squad, complete with a piper playing from the Twickenham ramparts, getting everyone in the mood with a rendition of Flower of Scotland.
Into the stadium to find our seats. After seemingly never-ending flights of stairs, we were up to the second-to-last row of Twickenham's upper tier, but what a view!
What. A. Game. A truly epic match. One point in it at half-time, and the same again at the end. There’s been enough written about the game elsewhere, but it was a thoroughly entertaining match, let down only by some questionable refereeing decisions. And the rumble of excitement from the fans wearing blue when the heavens opened 10 minutes from the end was something else!
Referee Craig Joubert was the first man out of the stadium, disappearing down the Twickenham tunnel to a deafening chorus of boos almost before he blew the whistle (and of course, nothing reassures the paying public that you’re confident you made the right decision by legging it at the end of the game!), but the Scottish fans didn’t go anywhere. After victory was snatched away with almost the last kick, a clearly gutted Greig Laidlaw got a tremendous ovation from the crowd when interviewed moments after the game ended. The look on his face says it all. Eventually, fans began to find their way to the exits, dejected Tartan Army followers mingling with stunned Australians, both sides still in shock at how it all ended.
And now here we are, back in Edinburgh on Monday morning, reflecting on a great trip, and what might have been. The 2016 Six Nations is only a matter of months away, and this Scotland team are a side on the up. And with a young team, you would be a brave person to bet against them doing well come February.