As he prepared to lead his country for the first time, and to collect his 50th cap, Scotland's captain Kelly Brown insisted he took no sleight from the All Blacks' blinkered approach going into tomorrow's match at Murrayfield.
At the New Zealand team announcement yesterday morning, both Brown's opposite number, Victor Vito, and fly-half Dan Carter admitted they knew little or nothing about the players they will face in the opening match of their European tour.
When it was suggested to Brown that the All Blacks did not care about Scotland, he replied: "I think New Zealand do respect us. What they are saying is that they are focusing more on what they can do.
"As world champions and being undefeated in the last 17 matches, they are completely entitled to do that," he added.
The All Blacks are famously undefeated in 107 years of competition against Scotland but 2012 has been a momentous year for Caledonian sport, what with the heroics of Andy Murray, Celtic's stunning victory over Barcelona and the continuing pedal-pushing brilliance of Sir Chris Hoy, who will present the match ball before kick-off tomorrow. Might Brown's side round off a vintage year with an odds-defying feat?
"That would be huge," the Saracens back rower said, "but we're under no illusions. It's a massive task."Reuse content