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Scotland Team to face New Zealand

Sure to be a big ask for a group of Scotland players in decidedly mixed form at club level.

You can read Rory’s thoughts on the match over on the .

Scotland team to face New Zealand at Murrayfield on Sunday 11 November, kick-off 2.30pm:

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors), 14 Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh Rugby), 12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby), 11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby), 10 Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh Rugby), 9 Mike Blair (Brive); 1 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors), 2 Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby), 3 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh Rugby), 4 Richie Gray (Sale Sharks), 5 Jim Hamilton (Gloucester), 6 Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), 7 Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Rugby), 8 Kelly Brown (Saracens) CAPTAIN

Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson (London Irish), 17 Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh Rugby), 18 Kyle Traynor (Bristol Rugby), 19 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), 20 David Denton (Edinburgh Rugby), 21 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), 22 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), 23 Max Evans (Castres)

Referee: Jerome Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzere (France) and Simon McDowell (Ireland)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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7 Responses

  1. While Andy Robinson might have his choices limited through injuries he still seems to be struggling to pick the in form players from a reduced player pool.Ross Rennie is a wonderful footballer, but your not telling me that he’s currently the in from Scottish 7? That would be a young Mr Fusaro who can’t even make the squad. Likewise, Dave Denton had a fantastic year last year, but has not found the same dynamism so far this year. A bench start against NZ is not the place to try and find some form. Richie Vernon may be playing for a struggling Sale side, something that seems not to hamper Richie Gray, but he’s been scoring tries. Johnny Beattie is getting game time in a competitive Montpellier back row, a team who sit fourth in their league. Is he in better shape than Denton?

    I’d also question the presence of Jacobsen on the bench. He’s been a great servant of Scottish rugby, but a combination of picking on form and the fact we need to start to build towards 2015 suggests to me that Chunk has had his day. Ok given our front row injuries we’re there are not many options, but is Jacobsen currently playing better than Gordon Ried?

    There are others who can consider themselves luck to be in the match day squad. Jackson has had one decent game all season (away at Franklin Gardens) and has been so bad Toony dropped him down to Ayr. Matt Scott is another talent who seems a bit out of sorts this season. If on form this season I’d to choose between Scott and Dunbar then I’d give the nod to the boy from Dumfries.

    On a positive note, form what I’ve seen of Edinburgh so far this season Mr Visser looks to have improved his all round game. Likewise, big Jim Hamilton has improved his mobility around the park, so lets hope he’s not dead on his feet after 10 mins like he was last time we faced NZ at Murrayfield.

  2. Brodie,

    I think a lot of people are getting too hung up on form at the moment. Sure it’s important but so is continuity. Robinson wants to stick with the players who delivered 3 wins in the summer and I think that’s fair enough. You can’t keep chopping and changing the team every team someone has a bit of a dip in form for their club, unless you have no faith that they recpature it in the Scotland shirt.

    You said it yourself, Ross Rennie is a class act. He was one of our best players last season and in my book is one of our most naturally gifted players. He has earned the right to wear the Scotland 7 shirt with his performances. You don’t drop one of your best players because he’s had, by his standards, some quieter games for his club for an uncapped player who’s on form for a game v the All Blacks. As the old adage goes, form is temporary, class is permanent.

    I’m also not really bothered whether Vernon is scoring tries for his club or not. Admittedly, it’s a bonus if he can score the odd try but that’s not the core part of his job. In that department, he has been found wanting at test level. He doesn’t front up physically and his work rate is low compared to Brown, Stroker, etc. I would pick Denton, our best ball carrier, over Vernon every time. Beattie is another matter though and I hope to see him back in the fold asap. I’m a bit worried AR is going to do an ‘Ally Hogg’ on him though.

    I am more inclined to agree with you on Chunk. He looks very short of match fitness and it is a gamble having him on the bench. Similarly, Scott doesn’t look on great form and I’m a bit nervous about him on Sunday. But then again I reckon Robinson thinks he deserves to keep the shirt after his appearances in the summer. Plus Dunbar hasn’t really had much game time at 12 this season.

    It’s all fairly academic anyway as I think it will be a heavy defeat for us. Hopefully I’m proved wrong and we give them a half decent game.

  3. I’d have liked to have seen Chris Fusaro in the squad for the Autumns, in fact his omission was my biggest disappointment. I’d also like to see Tam Brown get some game time, potentially moving Hoggy to 13, where he has played to great effect on a couple of occasions for Glasgow, as De Luca, whilst talented, isn’t cutting it. I really do hope Joe Ansbro is fit for the 6N, and that Alex Dunbar get’s a chance at 13 too, as he’s certainly in better form than De Luca, though maybe my Warrior bias is showing through there.

    I appreciate what a fantastic defensive force Stroker is, but I’d like to see Kelly Brown back at 6, with Rennie at 7 and Denton back at 8. Denton is struggling with form and fitness but with the benefit of seeing his performance on Sunday, I think he’s still an international back row. Brodie is quite right to say that Fusaro is the form man though, as he was last season, and I wonder if Robbo might have a problem with his size.

    Nonetheless, yesterday was a great performance so the selection wasn’t bad, I was particularly please to see Geoff Cross fare well as I was rather concerned about John Welsh being unavailable with Euan Murray absent. Grant has surely done enough over the summer and yesterday to be first pick in the loose as well.

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