Record-equalling duo set for Scots clash
November 11, 2010
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw will win his 92nd cap © Getty Images
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and fullback Mils Muliaina are set to equal Sean Fitzpatrick's all-time record of 92 caps for New Zealand after being named to face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Coach Graham Henry has bucked his recent trend of rotating fringe players into his team for the northern leg of his British and Irish tour by naming a near full-strength XV aside from hooker Keven Mealamu.
Mealamu was bracketed with potential debutant Hika Elliot to start at No.2 but failed in his attempt to have a four week ban for striking overturned. It was reduced to two weeks on appeal but Elliot nevertheless wins his first cap.
In other changes from the team that beat England 26-16, utility back Isaia Toeava replaces Joe Rokocoko on the right wing while in a midfield reshuffle to aid Sonny Bill Williams' introduction to international rugby he will play in his usual position of inside centre.
Conrad Smith is restored to outside centre - where Williams made his debut last weekend - so Ma'a Nonu drops to the bench.
Uncapped Edinburgh scrum-half Greig Laidlaw has been called up to the Scotland bench after Rory Lawson failed to recover from a hand injury.
Laidlaw, nephew of former Scotland and British & Irish Lions scrum-half Roy Laidlaw, will provide cover for Scotland captain Mike Blair. Lawson, who started Scotland's last Test in June, has not recovered sufficiently from a hand injury picked up while playing for Gloucester.
Scotland: H Southwell (Stade Francais); R Lamont (Toulon), M Evans (Glasgow Warriors), G Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), S Lamont (Scarlets); D Parks (Cardiff Blues), M Blair (Edinburgh); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), R Ford (Edinburgh), E Murray (Northampton), R Gray (Glasgow Warriors) J Hamilton (Gloucester), K Brown (Saracens), R Vernon (Glasgow Warriors), J Barclay (Glasgow Warriors).
Replacements: S Lawson (Gloucester), A Dickinson (Gloucester), N Hines (Leinster), R Rennie (Edinburgh), G Laidlaw (Edinburgh), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), N Walker (Ospreys)
New Zealand: M Muliaina (Waikato); I Toeava (Auckland), C Smith (Wellington), SB Williams (Canterbury), H Gear (Wellington); D Carter (Canterbury), J Cowan (Southland); T Woodcock (North Harbour), H Elliot (Hawke's Bay), O Franks (Canterbury), B Thorn (Canterbury), S Whitelock (Canterbury), L Messam (Waikato), R McCaw (Canterbury, capt), K Read (Canterbury)
Replacements: A Hore (Taranaki), J Afoa (Auckland), A Boric (North Habour), D Braid (Auckland), A Ellis (Canterbury), S Donald (Waikato), M Nonu (Wellington)
Referee: Dave Pearson (Eng)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September