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Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Friday, 12 November 2010

Hikawera Elliot set for All Blacks debut

Scotland v New Zealand EMC Autumn Test
Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday 13 November Kick-off: 1715 GMT
Coverage: BBC Two, BBC One Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland, Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Sport website and mobile phones

New Zealand hooker Hikawera Elliot
Elliot is in line to make his New Zealand debut against Scotland on Saturday

Hooker Hikawera Elliot will earn his first cap when New Zealand face Scotland after the All Blacks failed to have Keven Mealamu's ban quashed.

Mealamu's ban was halved to two weeks on appeal for a head-butt on Lewis Moody in their 26-16 win over England.

Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina are set to equal the All Blacks record of 92 caps at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Liam Messam, Jimmy Cowan, Isaia Toeava and Conrad Smith come into the side following last Saturday's win.

It means that coach Graham Henry's side show five changes from the one that played at Twickenham.

Messam replaces Jerome Kaino at blind-side flanker, Cowan returns in place of Alby Mathewson at scrum-half, Toeava comes in for Joe Rokocoko on the right wing and Smith is back in the centres.

I couldn't think of two better people than Richie and Mils to beat my record

Former New Zealand hooker Sean Fitzpatrick

Smith's return means a move to inside centre for former rugby league standout Sonny Bill Williams, with Ma'a Nonu relegated to the replacements' bench.

Elliot toured with the All Blacks in 2008 without playing in a Test, featuring as a replacement in the match with Munster, but is ready to step into the starting line-up.

"If I get that opportunity I'll definitely be taking it," the 23-year-old Hawke's Bay and Chiefs hooker said before knowing the result of the appeal.

"Keven is a top bloke - I feel for him. He's a great man, he's been really helpful with me.

"It's a bit of a Catch-22 situation, but I'm ready to get out there."

Keven Mealamu ponders the future at New Zealand training
New Zealand have appealed against Mealamu's ban

Elliot has been dreaming of making his first start.

"If I get to run out on Saturday for my debut, I'll be stoked," he said.

"It's been a while - it's been two years coming - but I'm really looking forward to it.

"We've got this saying in the team that you prepare to start. I've been in that mindset all week."

Skipper McCaw and full-back Muliaina will represent New Zealand for the 92nd time at Murrayfield on Saturday, matching hooker Sean Fitzpatrick's record tally.

Fitzpatrick, the 1987 World Cup winner, said: "I couldn't think of two better people than Richie and Mils to beat my record.

"They are outstanding All Blacks, good leaders of men and, for me, it's an honour to pass the baton on to those two.

"Richie is just leading by example, with the way he has captained the team this year, while Mils is a very, very special talent and very down to earth."


New Zealand: M Muliaina; I Toeava, C Smith, SB Williams, H Gear; D Carter, J Cowan; T Woodcock, H Elliot/K Mealamu, O Franks, B Thorn, S Whitelock, L Messam, R McCaw (capt), K Read.

Replacements: A Hore, J Afoa, A Boric, D Braid, A Ellis, S Donald, M Nonu.



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see also
Mealamu ban reduced after appeal
12 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
All Blacks show respect to Scots
12 Nov 10 |  Scottish
Scotland 3-49 New Zealand
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Laidlaw added for All Blacks Test
10 Nov 10 |  Scottish
All Blacks will improve - Cowan
08 Nov 10 |  Scottish
Competition delights Scots coach
04 Nov 10 |  Scottish
Strokosch out of Scotland Tests
26 Oct 10 |  Scottish
BBC to screen autumn rugby Tests
26 Oct 10 |  Rugby Union


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Irish Independent Mealamu to miss All Blacks' clash with Irish despite having ban reduced - 35 mins ago
ESPN Star Rugby: Mealamu missing for All Blacks - 3 hrs ago
Daily Dispatch All Blacks make four changes - 4 hrs ago
SuperSport NZ pay Scotland respect with top side for test - 9 hrs ago
The Scotsman Scots will not face Keven Mealamu as ban cut to two matches - 10 hrs ago


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