Scotland is whisky, shortbread and tartan to most people, but for Isaia Toeava and Stephen Donald, they hope it will be the land of redemption.

These two are hanging by a thread - their respective cameos in Hong Kong winning headlines for all the wrong reasons.

If they are to survive beyond this tour and fulfil their World Cup dreams, they have to deliver in Edinburgh.

Murrayfield will be the stage for those within the All Black squad with something to prove and no one has more to prove than Donald and Toeava.

Donald could hardly have done more to convince an already sceptical public that he's not a genuine test first five-eighths. He missed a late kickable penalty that would have given the All Blacks a crucial eight-point lead, wasted the ball twice with poorly executed grubber kicks and then failed to find touch in the dying seconds after the forwards had miraculously forced a turnover.

Toeava, another whose provincial and Super rugby form has never been consistently taken to the international stage, was at fault in the build-up to Drew Mitchell's try - falling over to leave a huge gap. He then missed a crucial tackle on Kurtley Beale who had retrieved Donald's missed touch-finder.

As hard as the All Black coaches have tried to defend and protect their men, they clearly realise their own credibility will be stretched should they try to dupe an educated public that they didn't really see what they know they saw.

There were more than just Donald and Toeava who made errors. The team must accept collective culpability for a performance that was limp in the first and last 10 minutes.

But sport is cruel and the defeated have a keen eye for detail and a thirst for blame. The mistakes of Donald and Toeava were glaring and, with neither in possession of a distinguished pedigree at this level, the court of public opinion has already passed judgement.

For the coaches, the issue is not so clearcut. They brought Donald back to the squad in the belief he was an improved player - capable of more than he had been in his previous test appearances. It was contentious, slightly bizarre even, given the support they had shown Aaron Cruden earlier in the year, only to drop him following his first start in Sydney.

Privately, the panel might be regretting their selection. They took a risk, backed their analysis and gut feel, and it backfired. How they handle Donald and Toeava now will have a crucial bearing on the long-term future of both players.

To an extent, the media and public commentary can be ignored. Donald in particular has heard it all before. But the coaches could break these men, possibly forever, depending on how they react.

Donald is aware Graham Henry gave a similarly impassioned defence of Cruden after the Sydney test, suggested many New Zealanders suffered from tall poppy syndrome, then dropped the 21-year-old. Cruden will still be nursing his damaged pride three weeks on - words from the fringes mean little; the actions of the All Black coach mean everything.

Assistant coach Wayne Smith says the way to handle Donald and Toeava now is: "To do what we always do. We keep it factual. We deal with the issues and you can't run from that. They are a couple of players we have shown a lot of faith in, who have sporadically done it previously. The team believes in them and that has been made very clear. But you can't play the game for them. They have to go out and do that themselves.

"We were very clear before the tour started that when you got the opportunity, you have got to nail it. They will get more opportunity and I'm certain that they are very committed to nail it next time. You can help them, drop the guys some solutions but you can't handle the pressure for them and you can't play for them. They have to do that."

Smith does not have to spell it out but the next time means Scotland. While the Scots have improved, they remain the side the All Blacks will most likely pick their most experimental team.

Nor does Smith have to spell out that if Donald can't nail a big effort against Scotland, then that could be it - not just for the tour but for longer. Cruden is waiting at home, hurt and determined to prove himself in Super 15.

Colin Slade, the people's choice, will be given a full campaign with the Highlanders to show whether he really is the pick of the bunch and even at the Chiefs, a fit-again Mike Delany could force his way back into the reckoning.

Donald needs to show poise, certainty and accuracy. The high risk kicks need to end; the decision making has to be made earlier and more decisively and if the game is tight in the final quarter, Donald has to show an ability to steer the ship home.

Toeava will be the benefactor of leniency. He hasn't played much in the past six months and adjusting to the pace of the game in Hong Kong, in an unfamiliar position, was a big ask.

He's likely to be at fullback in Edinburgh, the jersey he wore on debut at the same ground five years ago. Unlike Donald, there is a sense Toeava has what it takes to crack this level. His pace, power, timing and linking with his wings have to be spot on. Most importantly, he needs to nail his defensive chores.