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Friday, October 22, 1999 Published at 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK

Tait back to face All Blacks

Alan Tait: 100% fit after a nagging ankle injury

Veteran centre Alan Tait has been recalled to bolster Scotland's midfield for the World Cup quarter-final against favourites New Zealand at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Coach Jim Telfer has also recalled prop Paul Burnell to add weight to the front row for what will undoubtedly be the home side's most physical confrontation of the competition.

Strong defensive presence

Tait failed to make Scotland's starting line-up for the comfortable 35-20 quarter-final play-off victory over Samoa.

[ image: Paul Burnell has more than 50 caps]
Paul Burnell has more than 50 caps
But he has now fully recovered from a persistent ankle injury and Telfer is clearly mindful of the need for a strong defensive presence in the centres to cut off rampaging runs by the likes of Jonah Lomu and Tana Umaga.

The Scotland coach, who retires after the World Cup, has confirmed that there are no injuries in the squad and that all members have reported fit.

Scotland have never beaten New Zealand and have only ever managed one draw - 25-25 in 1983.

In fact, the All Blacks have been responsible for Scotland's demise in every World Cup bar 1991 when they lost to England at Murrayfield.

The mood in Scotland is hopeful and in the coaching duo of Telfer and Ian McGeechan, they have two of the finest tactical minds in the game.

But the likelihood is that the home side will not be able to live with the sheer pace, power and size of the ascendant New Zealanders and that their duck against the men in black is set continue.


Glen Metcalfe; Cameron Murray, Alan Tait, Jamie Mayer, Kenny Logan; Gregor Townsend, Gary Armstrong (capt); Gordon Simpson, Budge Pountney, Martin Leslie, Scott Murray, Doddie Weir, Paul Burnell, Gordon Bulloch, Tom Smith.
Replacements: James McLaren, Duncan Hodge, Bryan Redpath, Cameron Mather, Stuart Grimes, George Graham, Rob Russell

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