Of Grand Slam dreams – part two

Thinking about Grand Slams always brings memories of 1990 flooding back. I’m sure that’s true for many Scots – not just rugby fans. The ‘winner takes all’ showdown with England totally captivated our wee nation.

Last year I read a book called “the Grudge” by Tom English (an Irish journalist), based on his interviews with many of the key players in that match. It’s a great read for a rugby fan, especially a Scottish one.

What struck me most was the different moods in the team camps. Scotland had a sense of cohesion and driven-ness – in large part due to the near maniacal coach Jim Telfer. The English seemed less united – going back to the decision to appoint Will Carling as captain. Reading the book I almost felt sorry for Brian Moore, who was overlooked for the role.

Individually, England were probably the better players, but on the day it counted for nought. The team spirit, the occasion, the passion and commitment were amazing – I still remember the drama and emotion like it was yesterday.

The book cover reveals something interesting I think – Carling’s smug, sneer compared to David Sole’s grim determination (bordering on hostility).  It sums up the different approach taken by each team – the English cocksure of the outcome, the Scots determined to grind out an epic result.

Any lessons?

Technical ability allied to commitment can overcome form and odds.

Passion and purpose are hugely important, but need to be channelled positively.

Team cohesion shouldn’t be underestimated.

(I must dig out the DVD of the game and watch again – with a cold beer in my hand and a tingle down my spine.)

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