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Scotland v New Zealand: Autumn Nations Series 2022, Match Preview pt II – head to heads

Scotland vs New Zealand - graphic © Scottish Rugby Blog
Scotland vs New Zealand - graphic © Scottish Rugby Blog

Just 14 of the 46 players return from the last time these sides met in 2017 – 7 for each side. Beauden Barrett and Sam Whitelock are the only returning starters for New Zealand. The Scots call on Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, Ali Price, Zander Fagerson and Hamish Watson to start again while Grant Gilchrist and Jonny Gray have swapped places from that previous match.

Tale of the tape

67   Tries   88
   Average weight   95kg
311   Total caps   263
Average age   27.2

921kg   Pack weight   898kg
   Tries   49
359   Total caps  377
Average age   28.2

218   Total caps   276
   Tries   73
28.3   Average age   27.3

3 Scotland changes from last Test (v Fiji)

  • 12 – Tuipulotu for Redpath [=]
  • 10 – Russell for Hastings [+]
  • 2 – Brown for Turner [-]

Head to heads


15 Hogg
14 Graham
13 Harris
12 Tuipulotu
11 vd Merwe
10 Russell
9 Price

1 Schoeman
2 Brown
3 Z. Fagerson
4 R. Gray
5 Gilchrist
6 Ritchie (c)
7 Watson
8 M. Fagerson

16 Ashman
17 Sutherland
18 Nel
19 J. Gray
20 Dempsey
21 White
22 Kinghorn
23 Bennett


ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland

ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland

ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland


J. Barrett 15
Telea 14
Lienert-Brown 13
Havili 12
Clarke 11
B. Barrett 10
Christie 9

De Groot 1
Taukei’aho 2
Laulala 3
Whitelock (c) 4
S. Barrett 5
A. Ioane 6
Papali’i 7
Savea 8

Taylor 16
Bower 17
Newell 18
Vaa’i 19
Frizell 20
Perenara 21
Perofeta 22
R. Ioane 23


Backs – advantage Scotland

Having already had to face one of the most Scottish sounding players ever this Autumn, in the shape of Australia’s Jock Campbell, Scotland now find themselves taking on one of the most Scottish looking players ever – New Zealand’s Finlay Christie. In an alternative universe somewhere, the scrum half who originally hails from Peebles is pulling on the dark blue shirt for this match instead and adding some gingerism to a squad which is a bit lacking in this regard.

Forwards – advantage New Zealand

While the All Blacks’ backline has, if anything, a bit of a mix and match look to it, the pack is all power. As part 1 of the preview pointed out, this was where New Zealand’s previous game against Wales was won and lost. Scotland’s forwards have to find a way to break free of the visitors’ stifling defence and contain the Kiwis’ attack. The Welsh got monstered. Can the dark blues do better?

Subs – advantage New Zealand

While there is plenty of dynamism on the bench for Scotland, they may feel that a more setpiece based game is a less risky approach. Slowing things down might be the antithesis of the normal Scottish way but could reduce opportunities for the All Blacks to disrupt and attack an unstructured defence. The only slight problem with that is that New Zealand are also masters of striking off first phase!


– Ali Price has been selected for all 32 Test matches he has been eligible for since the 2019 RWC (29 for Scotland and 3 for the Lions) starting 29 of them.

– By contrast his old flatmate, Finn Russell, has been picked for 16 of those games, starting 13 of them.

– This will be the 51st time that the Price / Russell combination has started a match together at 9 and 10. In all they have played at least some part of 79 games in combination in the half backs.

– The starting lineup boasts a total of 670 Scotland caps, making this the most experienced XV selected by Gregor Townsend in any of his 60 matches in charge. The 888 caps among the starting 23 are also a record for this era.

 Fraser Brown will start at hooker for Scotland for the first time in nearly two years (since 5th December 2020). Brown and Stuart McInally started 33 out of 37 Tests between November 2017 and December 2020. Since then the hooking duo had only started 3 out of 20 internationals until this weekend.

– Supersub WP Nel has been a replacement for 14 of his last 17 caps.

19 Responses

  1. So after all the huff and puff, we fast forward to a game we’ve all been looking forward to with a team, on paper, which is damn close to our best. If it wasn’t for the fact that we’ve gone so badly backwards since the England game I would truly fancy our chances. Maybe it will be the turning point…you have to hope…they’re not invincible.

  2. What I like about the New Zealand All Black is that they come onto the pitch with a reputation of menace. Head to toe in Black, no coloured boots, other than traditional tribal long hair, no faddy hair cuts, they look like a team. They do not behave like wee boys, there is not one asking to give the ball to me, they are not focussed on giving the ball to the biggest guy , or the fastest guy, like the 1st Year school rugby team. They play like a team, they never give up and if last time we met,they had been attacking , in the closing minutes, no All Black would have left his cover players in the fool hardy attitude he could beat three of them. They would stick together , force the penalty, take the line out, drive over and bring the backs in as necessary to do so, win the game with a kick. That is the New Zealand All Black they do not see one any better than the other, just 15 All Black Warriors.

    1. Save the adulation for another time. You can bet they’re not saying this about us.

      1. Historic Banshire: What is your point ? I can see his point, he is comparing and contrasting, fair enough, I get it, I don’t need to like it, but there is an observation worth of reflection, something that we can learn from a team we have never beaten, but you just appear to be grunting?

    2. They definitely still have a bit of the aura about them. But there are absolutely plenty of sharp haircuts (just NZ style is bit further behind the times!) According to a good chunk of their fans some contentious selection decisions are explained by the ABs coaches being in thrall to either the Barratt brothers or the Barratt family as a whole. At the minute a fair bit of their success up front comes down to – give it to Ardie. Oh and their ‘no dickheads’ policy seems to have been given a bye for Frizell and Reece.

      1. I dont believe we have a no dickhead policy. Looking forward to trouncing them today. Sounds like our big opportunity. I stand by my comments , they are old fashioned and traditional, aLways the best way IMO.

    3. Not sure they’re deserving of *quite* such a sycophantic write-up tbh; have you actually watched them this year?

      They’re still a very good team but haven’t had the cohesion in their game plan that they have in previous years and are very reliant on key players (Savea mainly and Barrett/Mo’unga) coming up with game-breaking plays.

      Will take a lot to beat them but it shouldn’t be seen as some insurmountable challenge against Galacticos. They’ve lost 4 times already this year (including at home to Argentina) and came within 2 minutes and a contentious ref decisison of losing to Australia.

      Also, they wear coloured boots now – the black boots was just a thing around 2015-17 – and majority have ‘faddy hair cuts’.

      1. Faddy or Neddy haircuts? I note you never contested my view that we seem to be like a 1st year school 15 looking for the usual suspects to bail us out.

  3. Hogg and Barratt Even : Really, Does Barrett run away from the tackle as well ? COME ON SCOTLAND

  4. I’d have played Bennett and Redpath at centre and started Dempsey and Crosbie in the back row.
    Obviously Townsend and AB Z thought having a crash ball Islander (who is a natural 13) at 12 and a solid citizen at 13 was the best way to win this game.
    The backrow has looked sluggish and underpowered so far but no sign of Dempsey and Crosbie starting.
    This would be a very opportune day for Hogg to silence his ever growing band of detractors

  5. Think Hoggy will need more time for his head to come right after that fall.However,both he and Russell playing in the same team for the first in along time as equals-like that.

  6. Oh Boy!!………half watching the Seahawks in Munich already

    Lol…can we just play the match v 14?…that would be great

  7. Anyone who can’t appreciate the difference in what Russell is doing versus what Kinghorn is capable of needs to give up watching rugby.
    New Zealand obviously know as they are all over him trying to stop his distribution.

    Hogg having his best game for a long time as well.

    This is the Scotland I want to watch (will probably go badly wrong by the end of the game but I am loving it so far).

    1. Hogg fell off some early tackles but since then has picked up his performance.

      Very strange game so far, Scotland were half asleep at the start and it looked like a 50pt loss on the cards. Scotland had a bit of luck and have done well to get noses in front, not a turnaround I expected. Suspect we’ll rue failure to get another try or two.

      We’re struggling with their power and suspect at some point ABs will begin to make it pay again. But we are where we are and we are still in the game. We must take chances when we craft them though, Scotland need to keep momentum if we let ABs breathe again we’ll get blown away.

      1. Yes, couple of defensive lapses from Hogg early on, but his attack hasn’t looked this good for years – a lot of the reason the back 3 are looking good is what Russell is doing to give them space.
        Even if we fall off a bit in the second half, I hope there isn’t too much negativity as this performance is something special.

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