New Zealand wrap (Tues)

Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from New Zealand’s year-end tour.

Brewer: Scots can spring upset

Former All Blacks captain and current Scotland assistant coach Mike Brewer feels his side have a good chance of recording a historic first victory over New Zealand this weekend.

Brewer, an outstanding loose forward for the All Blacks in his day, believes the Scottish pack hold the key to their chances.

“We can win this game,” said Brewer. “It’s a relatively young and inexperienced All Blacks side. They do make mistakes – a lot more mistakes than other All Blacks sides in the past.

“That comes through the pressure the opposition puts on them. That’s something for us to enforce that pressure on the All Blacks. We’ll have to put a lot of pressure on their set piece and their ball supply.

“There’s an opportunity that if our platform is good up front, then we can trouble them.

“It’s a special week for me – my first international with Scotland. I told the boys it will be a huge honour to be part of the first team to beat them. I’m not trying to de-mystify the All Blacks. Everybody knows their strengths.

“But we are looking for a performance and I think if we can get a performance the game will be close.”

All Blacks prepared for tough encounter

New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith is predicting a tough battle when his side takes on Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The All Blacks have never lost to Scotland in their 26 previous encounters, but Smith is expecting the Scots to give it their all as they go in search of that elusive first win.

“I’m pretty conscious of the fact that we have never had anything other than a difficult game up here,” said Smith.

“Even last year in the World Cup … whilst they didn’t play their top team it was still a tough outing for us and it wasn’t a top performance by us by any means. In the 2005 Grand Slam it was the last game of the tour and again it was a tough occasion for us.

“I think we have to be prepared for that. We have to respect the game this week by putting it in at training, keeping our standards high and hopefully we will put a good performance on the park on Saturday.”

Hastings: No Grand Slam in my eyes

Scotland legend Gavin Hastings believes that the All Blacks tour of Britain and Ireland is not worthy of Grand Slam status.

Hastings, who played for Edinburgh against a touring All Blacks side in 1983, said the absence of midweek matches meant the tour was “not a proper Grand Slam”.

“To me what they [New Zealand] are doing is not touring,” said Hastings. “They have a squad of 35 players so why can’t they play two games a week?

“If one of the top players gets injured, well that’s tough, but that, to my mind, is a proper Grand Slam.”

Hastings added that too often Scotland have lost to the All Blacks because they went into the game with a defeatist attitude.

“I think there’s an awful lot of times Scotland teams have gone into a match against the All Blacks knowing or believing that they don’t have a chance of victory,” said Hastings.

“Clearly if that is the case they are never going to win the match. So this team has to find some thread to hang their belief on. It was always that way for me as a player and it remains with me now as a former player. I hope that Scotland still have that.”

More to follow…