Rugby Union: Blacks on the back foot for a change: Jankers for two of the tourists while Joseph is left playing for his Test place

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The Independent Online
THE SHIFT of the rugby mood north of the border is palpable thanks to Scotland A's heroics against the All Blacks. The tourists, so the theory now goes, are rattled and another such effort by the Scots' third team - aka the development XV, even though they contain three full caps - at Myreside this afternoon would be perfect before Saturday's international at Murrayfield.

How different it was after the 84-pointer against the South of Scotland last Wednesday. The panic-stricken debate on the condition of Scottish rugby lasted all of 72 hours, and suddenly it is the All Black selectors who are wondering whether they, or rather certain of their leading players, are getting it right.

Thus today's match is an individual trial for Jamie Joseph, the flanker who would have been regarded as a cast-iron Test certainty at the start of the tour. Joseph injured his ribs against the South-West last month and still looked out of sorts when he made his comeback against Scotland A.

'He was well off the pace,' Laurie Mains, the candid New Zealand coach, said yesterday. 'His lines weren't right in defence and he simply wasn't as effective as we know he can be. This game is an opportunity for him to show us that he can recapture his form.' If he does not, he will probably be replaced on the blind side by Blair Larsen, usually a lock, with the height of the Scotland back row in mind.

Mains was privately furious at his team's performance last Saturday. In particular the centres Matthew Cooper and Frank Bunce were made to do jankers in the form of extra training before the All Blacks departed from Glasgow on Sunday - their punishment for failing to get the ball wider more quickly and more often. Bunce even ended up packing down in the second row for scrummaging practice.

Yesterday the All Blacks forwards not involved in today's game were given the psyhcological treatment when Mains found a newspaper poster reading 'Scots to beat the All Blacks: special preview' on the gate at the training-ground. The coach placed the offending item in front of the front row as a constant reminder while they worked out with a scrummage machine.

SCOTLAND DEVELOPMENT XV: K Bray (Harlequins); D Stark (Boroughmuir), F Harrold (London Scottish), R MacNaughton (Northampton), C Dalglish (Gala); A Donaldson (Currie), D Patterson (Edinburgh Academicals); J Matson (Dundee HSFP), J Hay (Hawick), D Herrington (Dundee HSFP), N Edwards (Northampton), S Campbell (Dundee HSFP), P Walton (Northampton), F Wallace (Glasgow High / Kelvinside), I Smith (Gloucester, capt).

NEW ZEALAND: S Howarth (Auckland); J Wilson (Otago), E Clarke, L Stensness (both Auckland), E Rush (North Harbour); S Bachop (Otago), J Preston (Wellington); M Allen (Taranaki), N Hewitt (Hawke's Bay), G Purvis (Waikato), B Larsen (North Harbour), R Fromont (Auckland), J Joseph (Otago), J Mitchell (Waikato, capt), L Barry (North Harbour).

Referee: G Black (Ireland).

England Emerging Players XV,

Sporting Digest, page 39