Scotland unchanged for New Zealand All Blacks

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has kept the starting side that beat Argentina for this week’s match against New Zealand’s All Blacks at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Last week’s match against Argentina was Cotter’s first home game since he took charge of Scotland and his team scored five tries on their way to as 41-31 victory.

While the Scots will be encouraged by last week’s effort they will know that in 29 Tests Scotland have never beaten New Zealand.

Greg Laidlaw retains the Scotland captaincy after winning match of the match last week and the New Zealand-born duo of wing Sean Maitland and back-row Blair Cowan will face the All Blacks for the first time in a Test match.

Cotter has though made four changes on his bench, with Glasgow Warriors forwards Fraser Brown (hooker) and Tim Swinson (lock) replacing Scott Lawson and Jim Hamilton – who spent just four minutes on the field against Argentina before being sin-binned – while Johnnie Beattie and Chris Cusiter have come in for Alasdair Strokosch and the injured Henry Pyrgos (head knock).

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

“I really enjoyed watching the players play for each other against Argentina.

“They picked themselves up time and time again, and encouraged each other to keep on working for our collective cause.

“It was fantastic to see, as was our ability to get over the line and score tries, all of which contributed to a strong case for reselection.”

He added: “We showed last weekend that we’re developing an attack than can cause opposition teams problems. If we can force the All Blacks into making errors then we can give ourselves a chance.

“In saying that, the All Blacks are the world’s best at exposing errors so we’ll also have to be absolutely clinical in both our decision-making and execution if we are to go one better than the 1983 team that drew with New Zealand here at Murrayfield.”

Scotland

Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Adam Ashe, Blair Cowan, Rob Harley; Jonny Gray, Richie Gray; Euan Murray, Ross Ford, Alasdair Dickinson

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Geoff Cross, Tim Swinson, Johnnie Beattie, Chris Cusiter, Duncan Weir, Sean Lamont

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