Kiwi receives Scots' call after just 10 days

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The Independent Online

When the All Blacks made their first trip to play Scotland, in 1905, Alfred Fell stood down from the Scotland team "for reasons of loyalty and allegiance to the land of my birth." The Edinburgh University wing happened to be a native of Nelson.

Brendan Laney happens to be a native of Invercargill. Before last week he had only been to Scotland once, on a fleeting tour with Otago in 1997. He moved to Edinburgh 10 days ago. Tomorrow he will be Scotland's last line of defence against the All Blacks at Murrayfield.

Laney, a 28-year-old utility back, was picked yesterday to replace Derrick Lee at full-back. He has yet to play a club game in Scotland. He is also a former New Zealand Under-21 international. And he has a grandmother from Glasgow.

The Scotland coach, Ian McGeechan, made no apologies for fast-tracking another "Kilted Kiwi" into the Scottish team. "I do not think there is a controversy," he said. "Brendan is available to play and we are trying to put the best Scottish team on the field that we can."

Laney, who played for the Scotland A team in their 35-13 defeat against the All Blacks' midweek team at Perth on Tuesday night, was the top points scorer in New Zealand's National Provincial Championship this year, with a tally of 135 for the Otago Highlanders. His cutting edge in attack earned him the nickname "Chainsaw" in New Zealand, though he was never considered quite sharp enough for a senior All Black place.

"I suppose I always harboured dreams of playing for the All Blacks but that's in the past now," Laney said. "The chance to play for Scotland has come up and I'm going to rip into it."

Laney will not be the only New Zealander attempting to rip into the All Blacks tomorrow. Aucklander Gordon Simpson has been picked to replace the injured Jon Petrie at No 8, while Laney's former Otago team-mate John Leslie keeps his place at inside centre.

Leslie made his Scotland debut three years ago, just 11 days after playing his first game on Scottish soil. His father, Andy, who captained the All Blacks to victory against Scotland in Auckland in 1975, will be in the Murrayfield crowd tomorrow – with loyalties as divided as those Alfred Fell chose to sever 96 years ago, no doubt. "He's come over on an All Blacks' supporters' tour," Leslie Jnr said.

SCOTLAND (v New Zealand, Murrayfield, Sat, 4.0pm): B Laney (Edinburgh); J Steel (Glasgow), J McLaren (Glasgow), J Leslie (Northampton), C Paterson (Edinburgh); G Townsend (Castres), A Nicol (Glasgow); T Smith (Northampton, capt), G Bulloch (Glasgow), M Stewart (Northampton), S Murray (Saracens), S Grimes (Newcastle), J White (Glasgow), G Simpson (Glasgow), A Mower (Newcastle). Substitutes: S Scott (Edinburgh), G Graham (Newcastle), I Fullarton (Sale), S Taylor (Edinburgh), G Burns (Edinburgh), G Ross (Edinburgh), A Henderson (Glasgow).

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