Rugby: Scotland name team to face ABs

Richie Gray playing against Argentina at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Richie Gray playing against Argentina at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Scotland lock Richie Gray was included today in the starting XV to face world champions New Zealand at Murrayfield on Monday (NZT), subject to passing a fitness test on an ankle injury.

Scotland were the most successful of all the 'Home Nations' during their respective southern hemisphere tours earlier this year, upsetting the odds to beat Australia before defeating Fiji and then scraping a win over Samoa.

Head coach Andy Robinson has made five changes to the starting XV for the 17-16 victory over Samoa in Apia in June.

Jim Hamilton, who missed the tour because of disciplinary problems incurred while playing for Gloucester, returned to partner star lock Gray in the second row while fit-again back-row forward Kelly Brown was recalled for his 50th cap and first as Scotland captain.

In the backs, centre Nick de Luca and halfback Mike Blair replace the injured pair of Joe Ansbro and Chris Cusiter respectively while Geoff Cross came in for tighthead prop Euan Murray, unavailable because his religious beliefs prevent him playing on a Sunday.

Scotland have never beaten the All Blacks in 28 Tests spread across 107 years, with their best results coming in the contrasting Murrayfield draws of 1964 (0-0) and 1983 (25-25).

Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Sean Lamont, Nick de Luca, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Greig Laidlaw, Mike Blair; Kelly Brown (capt), Ross Rennie, Alasdair Strokosch; Jim Hamilton, Richie Gray; Geoff Cross, Ross Ford, Ryan Grant. Res: Scott Lawson, Allan Jacobsen, Kyle Traynor, Alastair Kellock, David Denton, Henry Pyrgos, Ruaridh Jackson.

- AFP

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