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Page last updated at 23:22 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Lineen targets historic Scots win

Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 8 November Kick-off: 1715 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC Two (Saturday, 1700 GMT). Live commentary on BBC Radio Scotland and 5 live sports extra. Text commentary on BBC Sport website

Scotland captain Mike Blair
Lineen believes captain Mike Blair is one of several leaders in the squad

Sean Lineen says beating the All Blacks on Saturday would be as big an achievement as winning a Grand Slam.

But the Scotland squad coach believes the current crop of Scots are capable of making history.

"Winning would be absolutely massive - right up there with the Grand Slams Scotland has won," said Lineen.

"There's a real opportunity here, not because of the All Black team, but the team we're putting out. I'm excited at the players we have at our disposal."

New Zealand have made 12 changes from the team that beat Australia in the Bledisoe Cup in Hong Kong last Saturday.

But Lineen believes that will not make Scotland's task much easier at Murrayfield.

"There's no such thing as a weak All Black team," said Lineen.

"They don't lose very often and these players will not want to be the first New Zealand side to lose to Scotland.


"So there's huge pressure on them, and it's up to us to make sure that pressure tells."

Glasgow Warriors and Scotland A coach Lineen was born in New Zealand, but represented Scotland as a player at international level.

Scotland head coach Frank Hadden has asked him and his Edinburgh counterpart, Andy Robinson, to assist with team selection and coaching duties with the full squad during the autumn internationals series.

And he has been impressed with what he has seen during their preparations so far.

"Their attitude had been great, this is a group of players who can do a lot of good things for Scottish rugby," he said.

"They're building up belief - they just need to get the consistency - and it starts on Saturday.

"There's a good mix of youth and experience there, Mike Blair's a great leader, and there's a lot of other leaders within the team."

Team captain Blair agrees that the new-look All Blacks will be formidable opponents, but expects to give them a tough time at Murrayfield.

Interview: Scotland assistant coach Sean Lineen

"They have a fairly new team out, but I don't think it means they are taking Scotland lightly, it just makes them more dangerous," the scrum-half told BBC Sport.

"There are guys we don't know too much about but there is no doubt they will be real quality players.

"If we get our set-pieces right and our breakdown right then it it will go a long way to making it competitive."

Scotland have never beaten New Zealand in 103 years of trying, but their chances of causing an upset on Saturday have been bolstered by the return of experienced trio Jason White, Simon Taylor and Nathan Hines.

"These guys all have over 50 caps and they have all played against the All Blacks before," added Blair.

"They have a good calming influence on the squad and I'm looking to them to step up and lead from the front."

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see also
Zinzan Brooke column
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Scots and All Blacks ring changes
04 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Mealamu envy at Scotland mentor
03 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Elliot called up by New Zealand
03 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union

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