Hansen con­fi­dent new-look All Blacks will de­liver goods

The Star Early Edition - - RUGBY -

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 to­mor­row.

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 squad.

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 flanker, 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 fam­ily rea­sons.

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 num­ber 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.”

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