Nov 13 • General News, International • 2668 Views • Comments Off on PREVIEW: SCOTLAND VS NEW ZEALAND

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Photo: Ruby Wolff

Written by: William Brown / Rugby15

Scotland’s comfortable win over Argentina at BT Murrayfield last week, as well as the announcement of the All Black team they come up against this week, must have revived the hopes of every Scot that a historic victory against the much-vaunted visitors from the land of the long white cloud could be in the pipeline this Saturday.

The Scottish performance against their more-fancied Argentinian opponents was a promising display in head coach Vern Cotter’s debut at Murrayfield.  The only blot on their copybook was the fact that the visitors from the southern hemisphere scored three tries in the last quarter of the match.  The Scots would, however, have taken much heart from this 41-31 victory, and even more so from the All Black performance at Twickenham.  Richie McCaw’s world champions stuttered to a 24-21 victory over England to bring up their 400th victory in test rugby history.  It was only in the second half of this match that the Kiwi’s managed to get out of first gear and gain a semblance of control.

Further encouragement for the Scots followed with All Black coach, Steve Hansen’s, announcement of the team to start at Murrayfield this week.  Only eleven of the 23 that played against England have been retained.  Two of the locks, Brodie Retallick (shoulder) and Patrick Tuipolotu (shoulder) have not been considered for selection.   Dominic Bird will start his second test alongside Jeremy Thrush in the engine room.  The new front row consists of Joe Moody, debutant James Parsons and Charlie Faumuina.

Ben Smith moves to fullback, with Colin Slade, a regular flyhalf, playing on the right wing.  Kiwi talisman and skipper, Richie McCaw will, for the first time in his stellar career, start with a number six on his back.  This move was made to accommodate Sam Cane on the openside.

Charles Piutau will start on the left wing, while Ryan Crotty will partner Malaki Fekitoa at centre. Daniel Carter makes his first start of the year in his 102nd test match.  TJ Perenara will be his halfback partner.

Victor Vito starts at number eight.

Dane Coles, Ben Franks, Wyatt Crockett, Luke Romano and loose forward Liam Messam will provide support from the bench.  The backs on the bench are Augustine Pulu, Sonny Bill Williams and Julian Savea.

Scotland coach, New Zealand-born Vern Cotter, has shown his faith in the starting line-up that beat Argentina. The only changes have been on the bench where four changes have been made.

Glasgow Warriors forwards Fraser Brown (hooker) and Tim Swinson (lock) replace Scott Lawson and Jim Hamilton, while Johnnie Beattie and Chris Cusiter come in for Alasdair Strokosch and the injured Henry Pyrgos (head knock).

Cotter said, “Last weekend we had the ball and looked dangerous, and showed great character to keep faith and confidence in our attacking philosophy.”

Scottish captain, Greig Laidlaw,  admitted there was plenty of work ahead before Saturday’s showdown with the All Blacks.

“We let in a couple of soft tries [against Argentina] and if we come up with that against New Zealand it will be very tough going,” Laidlaw said.

He further added that they need to be 100% effective when it came to the physical side of the match.  “You got to get those big hits [in],” the Scottish captain said.

“It will be a difficult challenge; we just need to play our game, play with confidence, back each other….
We’ve got to get out there and play with pride and passion and play for one another and really give it a shot. That’s our focus for this week – we’re not going to die wondering, so to speak.”

In rugby parlance, this is a virtual David versus Goliath affair. The Scots have faced New Zealand on 29 previous occasions, with two draws their best results against the southern hemisphere opponents.  They will feel that they are in with a shout of making history at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.  When one considers the virtual B-team Steve Hansen has named for the match, it will bring a glimmer of hope to every bonny Scot’s heart.  There is a quiet confidence about the Scottish camp!

New Zealand, however, boast such marvellous depth in their talent pool, that they must be firm favourites of maintaining their unbeaten run against Scotland.  Only the bravest Scot will predict a victory for the home team.


The full line-ups for this much-anticipated clash at BT Murrayfield are as follows:

Scotland (number of caps in brackets):

15 Stuart Hogg (25)

14 Sean Maitland  (14)

13 Mark Bennett  (1)

12 Alex Dunbar (9)

11 Tommy Seymour (11)

10 Finn Russell (3)

9 Greig Laidlaw (32) (Captain)


1 Alasdair Dickinson (37)

2 Ross Ford (78)

3 Euan Murray (61)

4 Richie Gray (40)

5 Jonny Gray  (6)

6 Rob Harley (8)

7 Blair Cowan (4)

8 Adam Ashe (2)



16 Fraser Brown (1)

17 Gordon Reid (4)

18 Geoff Cross (33)

19 Tim Swinson (9)

20 Johnnie Beattie (32)

21 Chris Cusiter (68)

22 Duncan Weir (16)

23 Sean Lamont (89)


New Zealand (number of caps in brackets):

15 Ben Smith (36)

14 Colin Slade (15)

13 Malikai Fekitoa (7)

12 Ryan Crotty (11)

11 Charles Piutau (12)

10 Daniel Carter (101)

9   TJ Perenara (9)

8   Victor Vito (25)

7  Sam Cane (21)

6  Richie McCaw (135) (Captain)

5  Dominic Bird (1)

4  Jeremy Thrush (10)

3  Charlie Faumuina (25)

2  James Parsons (0)

1  Joe Moody (6)

16  Dane Coles (25)

17  Wyatt Crockett (34)

18  Ben Franks (40)

19  Luke Romano (16)

20  Liam Messam (38)

21  Augustine Pulu (1)

22  Sonny Bill Williams (21)

23  Julian Savea (31)

Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)

Assistant Referees: John Lacey, Peter Fitzgibbon (both IRFU)

TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)

Kick-off: 19:30 (CAT)




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