Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland v New Zealand – the teams

Vern Cotter has stuck with the same starting XV that gave Argentina a good going over for at least 50 minutes, and has beefed up the bench in anticipation of  the arrival of the world’s best team and his countrymen, New Zealand.

Below you will find both teams.

Probably the oddest selection across both is Colin Slade on the wing for New Zealand, one of 13 changes that include bringing Dan Carter back into the fold.

Meanwhile for Scotland Fraser Brown, Chris Cusiter, Johnnie Beattie and Tim Swinson have come onto the bench in some cases due to injury and others presumably for strength, and perhaps also because they typify the approach that Cotter seems to be favouring: athleticism over bulk.

Teams to play at BT Murrayfield this Saturday 15 November in the viagogo Autumn Tests (kick-off 5.30pm):

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

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

New Zealand team: Ben Smith; Colin Slade, Malakai Fekitoa, Ryan Crotty, Charles Piutau; Daniel Carter, TJ Perenara; Joe Moody, James Parsons, Charlie Faumuina, Jeremy Thrush, Dominic Bird, Richie McCaw (capt), Sam Cane, Victor Vito.

Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Luke Romano, Liam Messam, Augustine Pulu, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea.

Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)
Assistant referees: John Lacey and Peter Fitzgibbon (both IRFU)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)

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11 Responses

  1. The AB’s usually only field 4 or 5 regular starters against us. In McCaw and Carter, that’s their best 2. I’d expect AB’s to reach 35 points no problem. If we get 2 tries and keep it to within 20 points we’ve done very well. We will not be in the game with 20 minutes to go.
    I’m being depressing aren’t I…! We should get to the WC QFs though. SFs if Wales, England, Australia have the worst off day in their history.

  2. With a strengthening of last week’s bench and the team playing the game of their young lives Scotland can win on Saturday. Go for it Scotland.

  3. I haven’t watched much of the top 14 competition this year, so many of the AB players are a mystery to me. If this is largely a reserve side, then it should make the match a bit closer. After last week, you can be sure that Laidlaw will be more closely watched and is unlikely to make the same breaks. Where are Scotlands chances going to come from? As long as the 9 10 combo can vary their game with a few well placed chip kicks and some planned moves to create a few line breaks, I think Scotland could show well in attack. As long as the kicking game is good (i.e. no clueless and un-chased kicking, think Scotland could hold it close until half time. After that, who knows.

  4. I’m not sure that kicking it to the AB back three will be the best option unless they are absolutely pin point.

  5. There’s no such thing as a reserve All Blacks team. Those 15 including Carter are lethal from anywhere. And with option of of Sonny Bill and Salvea the boys need to be more vigilant than last week. Chip behinds will not work. Nor will trying to over commit into rucks. Three lads need look after the ball when they have it and take points when they can.

    1. Nonsense, at least 12 of their players are clearly reserves because they are bench or squad players.

      Just because NZ second XVs would challenge for the 6Ns title every year if they could compete does not change this fact.

      1. Squad player does not mean reserve in NZ. I watch a lot of Super Rugby and any player in an all black jersey fits in to the 15 without a drop in quality. They have a whole squad of first string players at their disposal. The side going out on Saturday would still have beaten England last week.

      2. yes and no! I wouldn’t really say there are quite 12 reserves going out there; (I presume the other 3 are McCaw, Carter and Smith? )

        The Fekitoa / Crotty combo could well be better than Nonu / Kaino / Williams permutations;

        as for the front row, well quite honestly that is one area where the ABs have never shone, and after last weekend, who is to say who the first choice might be?

        OTOH some of the choices are VERY risky; Slade on the wing, and (ugh) Perenara at half back.

        Retallick hasn’t been the same since his enforced absence with concussion, so the untested Thrush/Bird combo (do they twitter!?) option to counter the towering Gray brothers does reek of mild panic.

        At least there is now a decent kicker on the side, and an arguably better fullback!

    2. NZs first choice team has over 1,000 caps. The team we’re playing on Saturday has around 450 and over 200 belong to Carter and McCaw.

      If you are still to be convinced ask yourself how many minutes these guys played in the rugby championship against SA.

      Just because they are better than most NH teams could put out doesn’t make them any less second choice players for the ABs.

      1. Yes they could be classed as “2nd choice”. However, with the structure they have in New Zealand, all are fresh from the end of the ITM Cup and in terms of international experience, the All Blacks are by far the best team when it comes to mixing experience with youth. The likes of Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Ryan Crotty and Ben Smith have huge amounts of experience and they can use that to help out the younger players. Yet, even someone that Malakai Fekitoa, who this time last year was relatively unknown in Super Rugby, is able to quickly get in and find his place in the All Blacks squad. Scotland could probably do with trying to target Colin Slade out of position on the wing – I’m sure Tommy Seymour is looking forward to that battle…

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion