McCaw says ABs respect Scots

2014-11-15 07:42
Richie McCaw (AFP)

Edinburgh - New Zealand captain Richie McCaw maintained on Friday the All Blacks were taking Scotland seriously despite their unusual team selection for Saturday's international at Murrayfield.

World champions New Zealand have never lost to Scotland in 29 meetings between the two countries dating back more than a hundred years and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named a side showing 13 changes from the one that beat England 24-21 at Twickenham last weekend,

However, McCaw - switched to blindside flank from his usual openside position - told Scottish Television on Friday: "We never take it for granted - you have to work hard for everything you get.

"The times I've played here, regardless of what scorelines have been, physically it's always been a tough old battle.

"As is always the case in the Northern Hemisphere the front five battle is always the key. Based on what we saw last week I think that will be the case tomorrow.

"Regardless of what other people think our guys are excited about playing a Test match at Murrayfield in front of a full house. And there's nothing better than putting on a black jersey to do that.

"I play against these guys (new players in the All Blacks team) in Super Rugby all the time and I know they are all good players.

"All year when someone has been called upon they have come in and done the job. I'm confident they'll do the job well."

World-record Test points scorer Dan Carter is set to return at flyhalf and McCaw said all those called in for the England match were excited by the opportunity of playing Scotland.

"Yes there are a few changes but the guys who have been given their chance are pretty excited," he said.

"Most of them have been in their stride most of the year so to see them get a chance means they're excited and I expect them to perform to a high standard. Hopefully that's good enough."

Scotland, coached by a New Zealander in Vern Cotter, started their November programme with a 41-31 win over Argentina last weekend and McCaw said: "We saw last week that Scotland have some older heads, especially in that front row and that tight five.

"They got stuck in against Argentina and got some good ball for them to play with.

"It's going to be a good challenge for us.

"There are some guys in there who, like us, haven't played a lot of Tests so I guess our job is to put pressure on them and not give the guys up the back a chance to get easy ball."

In common with many New Zealanders, three-times world player of the year McCaw has Scottish ancestry, with his family coming from the Borders and the back-row forward said: "I always love coming to Scotland. Both sides of my family come from these parts.

"As a young fella it always felt so far away but to have come here a few times and be here again is great. My second ever Test was here so that sort of thing is pretty cool."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  richie mccaw  |  rugby

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