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

All Blacks show respect for Scotland with few changes

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


Graham Henry
Henry put the New Zealanders through their paces on Thursday

New Zealand head coach Graham Henry says he respects Scotland as a potential "banana skin" ahead of their meeting at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The All Blacks show five changes from the side that defeated England.

"We've made a lot of changes in the game we play and that takes a bit of a while to cement in," said Henry.

"And you can't develop as a team if you've got a huge number of changes each week. To fulfil the objective, we've kept the changes to a minimum."

Scotland are unbeaten in four Tests and Henry praised the job Andy Robinson has done since taking over in the summer of 2009.

"We respect what Scotland are doing in the game and we respect them as a team," said former Wales coach Henry.

Keven's a bit destroyed about what's happened

New Zealand head coach Graham Henry

"Andy's doing a great job there. They're a pretty good all-round side.

"They've played very well in recent times, seem to have a lot of self-belief, they're playing a good style of footy."

The All Blacks crushed Scotland 32-6 at Murrayfield in 2008 despite having fielded a completely different side, but Henry is not tinkering with the world's best side on this occasion.

"What they've achieved has been immense," said Henry.

"The All Blacks legacy and building on that legacy is a major objective for the All Black team, it always has been, and they've been involved in a highly-successful period in All Black rugby going back over a decade."

There would have been only four changes to the side against England had hooker Keven Mealamu not been banned for striking Lewis Moody.

Jimmy Cowan returns at scrum-half after starting the defeat to Australia in Hong Kong two weeks ago, Liam Messam, who made his debut against Scotland two years ago, was named at flanker, Conrad Smith comes in at centre and Isaia Toeava comes on to the right wing.

An appeal against Mealamu's ban reduced the suspension from four to two weeks, but he still will miss the Murrayfield game, meaning a debut for Hikawera Elliot.

Henry recognised that they would miss the 82-Test veteran should his appeal be unsuccessful.

"He's a very important part of our team," he said. "He's a top man, he's got very high personal standards - he sees himself as a role model for young people.

"He's a bit destroyed about what's happened.

"Once the appeal is over, hopefully we'll get a positive result and move on."



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see also
Mealamu ban reduced after appeal
12 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Elliot will win All Blacks debut
12 Nov 10 |  Scottish
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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