Scotland make five changes for All Blacks

Scotland have made five changes to the team that went unbeaten on their tour of Australasia in June for this weekend’s Test match against New Zealand’s All Blacks.


Nick De Luca comes back into the team for the injured Joe Ansbro at centre while Mike Blair starts instead of the recuperating Chris Cusiter; and Geoff Cross, Jim Hamilton and captain Kelly Brown appear in the pack instead of Euan Murray, Alastair Kellock and Richie Vernon.


Brown, who will captain Scotland for the first time, will be winning his 50th cap, while there are first international starts at Murrayfield for Edinburgh Rugby backs Matt Scott and Tim Visser and Glasgow Warriors prop Ryan Grant.


Lock Richie Gray has made good progress from his ankle injury sustained on club duty last month and is listed, subject to a fitness test later this week.


On the bench, Glasgow Warriors’ uncapped 23-year-old scrum-half Henry Pyrgos, is rewarded for his fine form in recent weeks with a first-ever involvement in a Scotland match-day squad.


Scotland coach Andy Robinson said that they were in no doubt about the size of the task ahead.


“For our first game of the season we will really need to start well and keep the game simple.


“New Zealand are the world champions and they perform the basic skills, well, under the highest pressure.


“We need to step up from the summer tour and be ready to go toe to toe in a physical contest, just as Australia did most recently against New Zealand in Brisbane.


“Congratulations to Kelly Brown who will captain Scotland for the first time and will join distinguished company in winning his 50th cap.” Brown is the 32nd Scot to reach the milestone of 50 caps.


Scotland


15 Stuart Hogg ,14 Sean Lamont, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser,10 Greig Laidlaw , 9 Mike Blair,8 Kelly Brown (c) ,7 Ross Rennie ,6 Alasdair Strokosch , 5 Jim Hamilton ,4 Richie Gray ,3 Geoff Cross ,2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant


Replacements :16 Scott Lawson, 17 Allan Jacobsen , 18 Kyle Traynor , 19 Alastair Kellock , 20 David Denton, 21 Henry Pyrgos , 22 Ruaridh Jackson , 23 Max Evans

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