Rugby Union: Scotland decide size is important: Omissions give heavy hint to New Zealand's side for Murrayfield Test

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The Independent Online
TAKING the cue from their A- team, the Scotland selectors yesterday plumped for a big pack - gigantic by Scotland's relatively diminutive standards - to confront New Zealand at Murrayfield next Saturday.

The Scots know full well they cannot afford to be outweighed and outreached as South of Scotland were in their 84-5 humiliation by the All Blacks last Wednesday. So four of the A-team forwards who so discomforted the Blacks in Glasgow go into the Test team, the 20st prop Alan Watt and the 6ft 8in lock Andy Macdonald forming an intimidating bulwark. Or at least it would be if New Zealand rugby players ever could be intimidated.

Scotland's concentration on size has a further expression in the 6ft 5in Rob Wainwright's inclusion at open-side flanker after a conspicuous return from a serious Achilles tendon injury climaxed by being the outstanding player on Saturday. It will be his fifth cap, and the first for 17 months.

Along with the 23-year-old Macdonald, Ian Jardine is another making his debut, though at 29 the Stirling centre appeared by now to have lost his chance. His robust defence earned him the nickname 'Axeman' during Scotland's Pacific tour in the summer, when he played in non-cap internationals against Fiji, Tonga and Western Samoa.

Jardine's defence for Scotland A was the clincher, just as Ken Logan's lack of one persuaded the selectors to move the Lions centre Scott Hastings to the wing for the first time for his country. Hastings made appearances there for the Lions against the Anzac XV and France in 1989.

The All Blacks' team for tomorrow's match against the Scotland Development XV in Edinburgh gives a heavy clue - by who is left out - of the nearly all the probable Test selection. The injured centre Marty Berry was the only player not considered. Jamie Joseph, however, is being asked to prove himself after an unsatisfacory performance against Scotland A.

England's squad of 24 trained behind closed doors at Twickenham yesterday - including Jeremy Guscott, who had withdrawn from Bath's First Division fixture against Newcastle Gosforth on Saturday, and the captain Will Carling, who hurt a shoulder scoring a try for Harlequins at Leicester.

With the Twickenham Test on 27 November, there will be another England session next weekend and when the team announcement comes on Sunday the indications are that Rob Andrew will be preferred to Stuart Barnes at stand-off and Jonathan Callard will win his first cap at full- back. Unless there is a selectorial change of mind during the week, that is.

SCOTLAND (v New Zealand, Murrayfield, 20 November): G Hastings (Watsonians, capt); A Stanger (Hawick), I Jardine (Stirling County), G Shiel (Melrose), S Hastings (Watsonians); C Chalmers (Melrose), A Nicol (Dundee HSFP); A Watt (Glasgow High/Kelvinside), K Milne (Heriot's FP), P Burnell, D Cronin (London Scottish), A Macdonald (Heriot's FP), D McIvor (Edinburgh Academicals), G Weir (Melrose), R Wainwright (Edinburgh Academicals).

Replacements: B Redpath (Melrose), D Wyllie (Stewart's Melville FP), K Logan (Stirling County), A Sharp (Bristol), K McKenzie (Stirling County), C Hogg

(Melrose).

NEW ZEALAND (v Scotland Development XV, Myreside, tomorrow): S Howarth (Auckland); J Wilson (Otago), E Clarke, L Stensness (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).

Replacements: S Forster, M Ellis (Otago), C Dowd, O Brown (Auckland), S Gordon (Waikato), Z Brooke (Auckland).

Rugby union, page 33

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