New Zealand v Scotland at Murrayfield
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Murrayfield requires a special mention. It is only one of two grounds that I list as venues for international rugby tests. Twickenham is the other. All other venues are listed as the city in which the test match is played in. This gives special pride of place to two famous venues for rugby tests. More importantly it gives pride of place to the first two nations to play test rugby; England and Scotland, way back in 1871.
So it is to Murrayfield we go for today's international rugby test. There is no doubt who is fielding their strongest side. It's not the All Blacks. Giving everybody a reasonable go sees a good but not great All Black side take on the Scots. This has been they way New Zealand teams have been selected on these traditional November journeys to the North. There are a number of changes to the side that defeated England last weekend.
Scotland has been talking bravely throughout the week. They have an impressive record leading into this game. They have not been defeated in their last four outings-a draw against England and a win over Ireland in the last two 6 Nations matches plus a series win over in Argentina, an historic series victory. 2002 was the last time Scotland won four tests in a row. Scotland have good reason to be confident. However this is their first outing of the season whereas the All Blacks are a finely tuned well oiled machine, even with a few tinkerings with combinations.
Last Five Encounters
08.11.2008 New Zealand 32-6 at Murrayfield
23.09.2007 New Zealand 40-0 at Murrayfield (World Cup, Pool C)
26.11.2005 New Zealand 29-10 at Murrayfield
24.11.2001 New Zealand 37-6 at Murrayfield
01.07.2000 New Zealand 48-14 in Auckland
Scotland has never defeated New Zealand. They have come close twice with two draws;
12.11.1983 Drawn 25-25 at Murrayfield
18.01.1964 Drawn 0-0 at Murrayfield
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 2nd, Scotland 7th
New Zealand 93.04 (1st), Scotland 79.81 (7th)
Prediction: New Zealand by 16 points
15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Rory Lamont, 13 Max Evans , 12 Graeme Morrison , 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Daniel Parks, 9 Michael Blair,Capt. 8 Richard Vernon , 7 John Barclay , 6 Kelly Brown, 5 James Hamilton, 4 Richard Gray , 3 Euan Murray , 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen .
16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Nathan Hines , 19 Ross Rennie, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Nikki Walker.
Head Coach: Andy Robinson
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Isaia Toeava, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 James Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw,Capt. 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Bradley Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu/Hikawera Elliot, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Andrew Hore, 17 John Afoa, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Daniel Braid, 20 Andrew Ellis, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Ma'a Nonu.
Head Coach: Graham Henry