Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lesser lights could provide tougher test

Scotland's side to meet the All Blacks on Sunday (GMT) will probably provide the New Zealanders with a tougher test than the full-strength Scottish side.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry made the point that the full strength Scotland side was probably deserving of a breather, and if they had to play again they probably wouldn't be as sharp as the side chosen would be.

"It is a good Scottish side and they have played a lot of international rugby. Some of them haven't played a lot in this tournament and they'll be on edge to show the selectors they are worth selection for later rounds," he said.

"I think it will be a good challenge for us, we think it's going to be a hard game and we're looking forward to it."

Henry complimented the development of depth that has occurred in Scottish rugby and for most of the side to meet the All Blacks, there would be memories of having played in the last match between the two teams in 2005.

"I think some of the other sides in Europe would like to have that sort of depth," he said.

For New Zealand nothing was changing and the team would be looking to continue the policy of improving game by game.

"We are trying to make sure we give the 30 players as much game time as possible so everybody is in consideration for selection for the quarter-final," Henry said.

"I think it's important we keep within that policy to make sure they are all on edge and enjoying their rugby and all challenging for positions. I think we are achieving that and I think this game tomorrow will be harder than those before."

Captain Richie McCaw said: "I can't speak for the Scottish but from our point of view it's a Test match we've got to prepare well for, and we have done, and we have got to go out and play some good rugby.

"A few of us have played here before and know it's not an easy place to play regardless of what outcomes are. I know the two times I have played here it has always been a pretty tough Test match so we are expecting that tomorrow."

The Scottish would get stuck in and it was important the All Blacks came off the track having performed better than it had in its two earlier games.

"The intensity has gone up a bit this week and hopefully the same thing happens on the track," he said.

No comments: