Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has challenged his side to build on their four match unbeaten run and earn the respect of the world’s best side when they face New Zealand in the first EMC Autumn Test at Murrayfield on Saturday. Robinson has made five changes from the Scotland team that started their last international – the historic 13-9 series-clinching success against Argentina in Mar del Plata in June. Rory Lamont replaces the recently injured Simon Danielli on the wing, while the rejuvenated Mike Blair, Scotland’s most-capped scrum-half, will start instead of Rory Lawson and will captain his country for the 14th time. In the pack Euan Murray is preferred to Moray Low at tight-head while the Glasgow pair, Richie Gray, 21, and Richie Vernon, 23, will both make their first starts for Scotland in place of their team-mates, Alastair Kellock and Johnnie Beattie both of whom are recovering from injuries.
Robinson said: “It is imperative that we front up from the first whistle against the All Blacks on Saturday and play the game at a tempo where we can unveil our skills and show our discipline, because the winning of this Test match is in our hands.
“We have shown our appetite to drive forward our game and our aim is to improve on our best performances last season, which we know inspired the country.
“As someone who loves his rugby it’s been a real thrill to watch many of New Zealand’s games this year and, for me, it’s important that this month the Scotland team earn the respect of the southern hemisphere by the qualities we bring to bear.”
More than 51,500 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s Test and Robinson is keen to see more surge through the Murrayfield turnstiles as tickets remain on sale until Friday night.
“The support we had during our Autumn Test against Australia last year was phenomenal – the crowd shared the players’ belief and conviction that day and roared us on and we have to do our bit to create that same fabulous atmosphere this weekend,” he said.
Tickets can be bought in three ways: via the Scottish Rugby website (www.scottishrugby.org); via the 24 hour phone line 0844 335 3933; or in person from the Scottish Rugby Ticket Centre, Gate A, Roseburn Street, Edinburgh. Please note there are no ticket sales on match day. Website and phone line sales close at 12 midnight on Friday, while the Ticket Centre is open for personal purchasers from 9am-8pm, Monday to Friday this week. Tickets are priced at £20, £25 and £45 for adults and £10, £12.50 and £22.50 for under-18s.
Scotland team (sponsor Murray) to play New Zealand in the EMC Autumn Test on Saturday 13 November at Murrayfield (kick-off 5.15pm):
15 Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais), 54 caps, 8 tries, 40 points
14 Rory Lamont (Toulon) 23 caps, 6 tries, 30 points
13 Max Evans (Glasgow Warriors) 13 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
12 Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors) 25 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
11 Sean Lamont (Scarlets) 47 caps, 7 tries, 35 points
10 Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues) 53 caps, 4 tries, 10 conversions, 33 penalties, 11 drop-goals, 172 points
9 Mike Blair (Edinburgh) CAPTAIN 64 caps, 5 tries, 25 points
1 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh) 47 caps
2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh) 40 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
3 Euan Murray (Northampton Saints) 32 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
4 Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 3 caps
5 Jim Hamilton (Gloucester) 29 caps, 1 try, 5 points
6 Kelly Brown (Saracens) 37 caps, 3 tries, 15 points
8 Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors) 3 caps
7 John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors) 20 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
16 Scott Lawson (Gloucester) 22 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
17 Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester) 18 caps
18 Nathan Hines (Leinster) 64 caps, 2 tries, 10 points
19 Ross Rennie (Edinburgh) 1 cap
20 Ross Laidlaw (Edinburgh)
21 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) uncapped
22 Nikki Walker (Ospreys) 15 caps, 4 tries, 20 points
Referee: Dave Pearson (England). Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes and Robin Goodliffe (both England). TMO: Giulio de Santis (Italy).
All Blacks team named for Test against Scotland
McCaw and Muliaina to equal Fitzpatrick’s All Blacks Test record
Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick has paid tribute to current All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina who will this weekend equal his All Blacks record of 92 Test caps.
The pair were today named in the All Blacks team to play Scotland at Murrayfield this Saturday, with McCaw in his familiar number seven jersey and Muliaina at fullback.
29-year-old McCaw and 30-year-old Muliaina first met on the rugby field when McCaw’s Otago Boys’ High School played Muliaina’s Southland Boys’ High School in 1997. They then played together in various New Zealand age-grade teams before embarking on their stellar All Blacks careers.
McCaw made his All Blacks Test debut on 17 November 2001 against Ireland as a fresh-faced 20 year old and captained the All Blacks for the first time against Wales on the 2004 end of year tour, aged just 23. He is already the most capped All Blacks Test captain in history and will extend that record when he leads the side for the 55th time this weekend.
Muliaina joined the national squad in 2003 making his Test debut as a 22 year old against England in Wellington on 14 June and has also captained the side in three Tests. He has scored 145 points in Tests and, remarkably, will play his first Test against Scotland this weekend.
Sean Fitzpatrick, who played for the All Blacks from 1986 to 1997, said it was a remarkable achievement for McCaw and Muliaina to join him as the most capped All Blacks, with both players also set to extend the record.
All Blacks Coach Graham Henry and his Assistant Coaches Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith have named their team for the Test against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday 13 November, the third Test in the All Blacks Telecom BackingBlack Tour.
The match will see a significant milestone for two All Blacks – captain Richie McCaw and fullback Mils Muliaina will equal former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick’s record of 92 Test caps. (See separate media release).
The team to play Scotland is as follows:
1. Tony Woodcock (71)
2. Keven Mealamu (82) / Hikawera Elliot (uncapped)
3. Owen Franks (19)
4. Brad Thorn (48)
5. Samuel Whitelock (10)
6. Liam Messam (5)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (91)
8. Kieran Read (27)
9. Jimmy Cowan (42)
10. Daniel Carter (76)
11. Hosea Gear (3)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (1)
13. Conrad Smith (42)
14. Isaia Toeava (28)
15. Mils Muliaina (91)
16. Andrew Hore (47)
17. John Afoa (27)
18. Anthony Boric (17)
19. Daniel Braid (4)
20. Andy Ellis (15)
21. Stephen Donald (20)
22. Ma’a Nonu (54)