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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Hadden names weakened Scots side
Scotland coach Frank Hadden
Frank Hadden appears to be saving his best side for Italy
Scotland v New Zealand
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Sunday, 23 September
Kick-off: 1600 BST
Live coverage on BBC Radio 5live Sports Extra & the BBC Sport website

Scotland coach Frank Hadden has made 13 changes and picked two new caps for Sunday's Pool C match against World Cup favourites New Zealand at Murrayfield.

Only Chris Paterson, who moves to fly-half, and Simon Webster, who plays on the wing, are retained from the side that started the 42-0 win over Romania.

Prop Alasdair Dickinson and flanker John Barclay are the debutants.

It is an indication that Hadden is saving his best side for the expected qualification decider against Italy.

But he rejected the suggestion that it was a weakened side, pointing out that two Lions had returned to the starting line-up.

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Scotland's most-capped player, Scott Murray, will captain his country for the first time in three years, while Chris Cusiter, who has been plagued with injury for the past season, returns at scrum-half.

And experienced centre Andrew Henderson is back after the leg injury that prevented him playing against Portugal and South Africa.

Hadden acknowledged that the selection for this match - and the game against Italy six days thereafter - had exercised his mind for several months.

But he "utterly rejected" the idea it was a "second-string, weakened or reserve Scotland team".

"It contains the best place-kicker in world rugby, two British Lions, one of whom is Scotland's most-capped player, two of our most-respected and exciting backs and arguably the player who made the biggest impact in the 2006 Autumn Tests," said Hadden.

And the Scotland boss added that the XV contained "other players who have beaten South Africa, France, England Ireland and Wales in the international arena, combined with some fresh young talent".

It's absolutely vital we play the freshest possible squad this weekend and the freshest possible squad against Italy

Scotland coach Frank Hadden

"We have a squad of 30 highly professional, dedicated, quality players and we compete in this tournament as a squad," he insisted.

"Our mission has always been to qualify from the group stages and press on from there."

Hadden has effectively changed his whole side, with Paterson having played on the wing against Romania and Webster being moved from outside centre.

"The schedule we are being asked to fulfil by RWC involves us playing three games in 11 days," said the coach.

"International rugby is a huge physical challenge and our aspirations are to progress as far as we can in this tournament and that has to be the over-riding priority in our selection for the games against New Zealand and Italy.

"We believe, to get the best outcome for Scotland over the next two games, that it's absolutely vital we play the freshest possible squad this weekend and the freshest possible squad against Italy.

"Had the Portugal and Romania games also fallen like Romania and New Zealand, just five days apart, we would have done exactly the same thing."


Scotland: Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh), Nikki Walker (Ospreys), Marcus Di Rollo (Toulouse), Andrew Henderson (Glasgow Warriors), Simon Webster (Edinburgh), Chris Paterson (Gloucester), Chris Cusiter (Perpignan), Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Scott Lawson (Sale Sharks), Craig Smith (Edinburgh), Scott MacLeod (Llanelli Scarlets), Scott Murray (unattached) capt, Kelly Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Dave Callam (Edinburgh), John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors).
Replacements: Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors), Gavin Kerr (Edinburgh), James Hamilton (Leicester), Allister Hogg (Edinburgh), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors), Rob Dewey (Ulster)


SEE ALSO
NZ bring back big guns for Scots
19 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
Carter expects tough Scots game
17 Sep 07 |  Scottish
Scotland 42-0 Romania
18 Sep 07 |  Scottish
New Zealand 108-13 Portugal
15 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 56-10 Portugal
09 Sep 07 |  Scottish
New Zealand 76-14 Italy
08 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
Rugby World Cup 2007 fixtures
20 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment
New Zealand RWC team guide
04 Sep 07 |  Team guides
Scotland RWC team guide
04 Sep 07 |  Team guides


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