Edinburgh - All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw has been shunted to blindside flank
and flyhalf Dan Carter gets his first Test start in a year in a vastly
rearranged New Zealand side to play Scotland on Saturday.
The surprise shake-up also has hooker James Parsons making his Test
debut as only 12 players survive from the 23 involved in last weekend's
24-21 win over England at Twickenham.
Parsons, along with utility back Colin Slade and lock Dominic Bird
who are also in the run-on side to play Scotland, were not in the
original touring party but have been called in as injuries hit the
But coach Steve Hansen rejected any talk of an understrength side
"Though we have made changes to our team, there is an expectation
that those who fill the jersey will deliver quality performances," he
said when announcing the team.
For the 135-Test veteran McCaw, widely acclaimed in his prime as the
world's best openside flank, this will be the first time he has
started a Test in the number six jersey although he has previously
played at the back of the scrum.
He moves to the more defensive role to make way for his openside
understudy Sam Cane with Victor Vito at number eight to give the All
Blacks more mobility than the established loose trio of McCaw, Jerome
Kaino and Kieran Read.
Of the 15 who started against England, only McCaw and Ben Smith will
start again and even Smith has to change position, moving from wing to
fullback in place of Israel Dagg.
Kaino and locks Patrick Fekitoa and Brodie Retallick were not
considered due to injury while centre Conrad Smith has returned home for
In Smith's absence there is a new-look back combination with Ryan
Crotty and Malakai Fekitoa paired in the centres while Slade, who kicked
the winning goal as flyhalf against Australia last month, joins
Charles Piutau on the wing.
Carter, the world's leading Test points scorer, joins TJ Perenara in
the halves to start his 102nd Test and wear the No 10 jersey for the
first time this year.
After sitting out the June Test series against England, he missed the
Rugby Championship because of injury before returning to play 30
minutes off the bench against the United States two weeks ago.
Bird gets his second Test at lock alongside Jeremy Thrush, and with a
front-row combination of Joe Moody, Charlie Faumuina and Parsons the
tight five have a combined total of just 42 caps.
Sonny Bill Williams has been placed on the bench along with player of the year nominee Julian Savea.
"We have a lot of respect for the Scots and, like all northern
hemisphere teams, know that they will bring a lot of physicality to the
park," Hansen said.
"However, we also expect them to want to move the ball, particularly
from any turnovers or free kicks. That style certainly suited them last
week and makes them, we believe, even more dangerous."
Hansen has said he is using this tour to replicate World Cup conditions.
15 Ben Smith, 14 Colin Slade, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Richie McCaw (captain), 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Joe Moody.
Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Julian Savea