Grant Gilchrist has called on Scotland to seize their chance to make history against New Zealand this weekend.
The Scots have never beaten the All Blacks, although they came mighty close in their last meeting in 2017 when a strong fightback brought Gregor Townsend’s team within a score of victory before they succumbed to a 22-17 defeat.
Edinburgh lock Gilchrist played in that match and believes the current team are equipped to go a step further and record a victory if they can put all the positive aspects of their game together on Sunday.
“It was one of the highlights of my career, that game,” he said. “It was so special. We came so close.
“We know the amount of effort and the level of performance it will take but what an opportunity it is to play them at home and try to make history. It’s something the team will relish this week.
“If we put everything into our training week, make a few fixes and put on our best performance on Sunday, we believe we can win.”
Gilchrist believes BT Murrayfield can play a part in helping the Scots flourish this weekend.
“I love playing at Murrayfield any time I get the opportunity, but that game against the All Blacks, the atmosphere felt like a Calcutta Cup game where every decision was roared either way,” he said. “We’re going to need that on Sunday because it makes a big difference when our fans are behind us.
“It’s going to be a special day. Naturally, there’s an extra level of excitement for a game like this because you know you’re playing against the best.
“You try and prepare to play at the same intensity every week but there is an extra added spice this week because we’ve got the opportunity to do something that’s never been done before. That’s exciting for everyone.”
Scotland have had a mixed 2022 but – despite being competitive in most of their matches – have not truly fired on all cylinders.
On Saturday, in their 28-12 victory over Fiji, they showed two sides to their game as they conceded two tries in a grim first half before tightening things up after the break and keeping the visitors at bay in a more assured second-half performance.
“We’re working every week to try and produce that complete performance,” said Gilchrist. “The foundations are there. We just need to put it all together, and what an opportunity we’ve got to do it on the biggest stage this week.
“It felt like Fiji’s only chances last weekend were from our own ill-discipline. We’ve got a strong defence and we’re going to need that over the next two weekends, especially this weekend.”