Scotland will face a New Zealand team in which leading Test points scorer Dan Carter makes his first international start of the year and captain Richie McCaw is included on the unfamiliar blindside flank in Saturday’s viagogo Autumn Test at BT Murrayfield.
While the Scots are believed to be unchanged apart from the bench where Chris Cusiter, Tim Swinson and Johnnie Beattie come in for Henry Pyrgos (injured), Jim Hamilton and Al Strokosch, the All Blacks have rung the changes.
A total of 12 are made from the 23 that beat England 24-21 last weekend and there is a first cap for hooker James Parsons, a late call-up along with second row Dominic Bird who also plays.
Colin Slade, normally a stand off, is on the wing but All Blacks coach Steve Hansen insists: “We have a lot of respect for the Scots and ... know that they will bring a lot of physicality.
“We also expect them to want to move the ball. That style certainly suited them last week and makes them, we believe, even more dangerous.”
Carter, who has recovered from a broken leg, is the world’s leading test scorer with 1446 points and had one of his finest matches in Kiwi colours when New Zealand routed Scotland on their last visit two years ago.
Team: Ben Smith, Colin Slade, Malakai Fekitoa, Ryan Crotty, Charles Piutau, Dan Carter, TJ Perenara, Joe Moody, James Parsons, Charlie Faumuina , Jeremy Thrush, Dominic Bird ,Richie McCaw (captain), Victor Vito, Sam Cane.
Subs: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Luke Romano, Liam Messam, Augustine Pulu, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea.