Andy Robinson demands fresh faces build All Blacks pressure
Wednesday 24 October 2012
Given Scotland's record against New Zealand, Andy Robinson might consider taking the 34-man squad he named yesterday to Medinah instead of St Andrews next week.
They would appear to be in need of a Ryder Cup-style miracle as they prepare for the challenge of facing the planet's best team at Murrayfield on 11 November.
Famously, the Scots have never managed to beat the All Blacks. They go the opening game of their autumn series with a hat-trick of wins behind them, against Australia, Fiji and Samoa, but they all came in June. Four months on, Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors have failed to pull off a victory between them in the opening two rounds of the Heineken Cup and, such are the resources at Robinson's disposal, the head coach has been forced to call up seven uncapped men – and hope that some of his more recently injured players will be fit to face the world champions.
Lock Richie Gray, stand-off Greig Laidlaw, centre Max Evans and wings Sean Lamont and Tim Visser have all been named in the squad despite being out of commission last weekend. The list of long-term injured includes centres Joe Ansbro and Graeme Morrison, scrum-half Chris Cusiter, full-back Rory Lamont and wing Nikki Walker. Hence the call to the uncapped brigade: the Edinburgh lock Grant Gilchrist, Edinburgh back-rower Stuart McInally and Glasgow backs Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour and Henry Pyrgos.
Asked how he might instil belief in his players to take on Richie McCaw and Co a fortnight on Sunday, Robinson said: "Teams that have put New Zealand under pressure are teams that have only allowed them to score one try. That's the mentality you have to go out with.
"The other aspect is that you've got to score early against them, so you get the scoreboard in your favour. Ireland put them under pressure and only conceded one try."
That was in Christchurch in June. New Zealand needed a last-minute drop-goal by Dan Carter to sneak a 22-19 win against the Irish – who, like the Scots, have never beaten the Kiwis.
Rob Kearney, Ireland's full-back that day, will miss the autumn Tests with a back problem. The European Player of the Year faces surgery today and is expected to be out for up to 10 weeks.
My one and only game for Neil Baldwin FC
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce engagement
Jose Mourinho says Chelsea deserve to be setting pace going into Christmas fixtures
Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump
Arsenal vs QPR: Leroy Fer seeks perfect present for Boxing Day
- 1 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Vagina canoe artist facing two years in jail defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader