In a pre-recorded interview With Amazon Prime, Stuart Hogg says Scotland intends to “take off the shackles and have fun”.
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster is asked why he has made seven changes for today: “Look, I guess it’s the last two weeks of the year for us. We’ve got a team that’s really pushing each other, I think some of those changes were pretty well flagged, they came off the bench last week, so the combinations are still there… and we really think that’s the right group for today. .
Will they play in the middle or wide? “A bit of both… the irony is that last week we played indoors and yet the pitch was quite wet so he dominated the tactics. We expected it to be a little wetter today, but it’s a beautiful day here and I think the conditions will give both teams a chance to play a bit wide.
“It is a new experience. We love this city and you can see the guys have really been taking it over…
“We think Scotland is a team that is growing, playing with a bit of adventure and it’s a great occasion for them too.”
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend speaks to Amazon Prime: “It is a great occasion… 2017 was a very special night [the last time the All Blacks came to Scotland] …and it was a cracking match. We know we will have to deliver a similar but even better performance today to win.
“Finn has been very good [in training] … came in on Tuesday. He has led the attack very well… you can see in his faces, this is a great game for the players, a great opportunity for them. They may not play New Zealand again, so we will do everything we can to win.
“The weather is nice today, so it could be attacking rugby, it could be chasing, it could be up front. We have to handle all those moments.”
Gregor Townsend makes three changes to the team that defeated Fiji last week. The starter is, of course, Finn Russell starting at No. 10 in place of the injured Adam Hastings.
Fraser Brown comes in for the injured George Turner as hooker, and center Sione Tuipulotu starts at No. 12 in place of Cameron Redpath.
The All Blacks make seven changes overall, with Beauden Barrett at number 10.
Scotland: pork; Graham, Harris, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe; Russell, Price; Schoeman, Brown, Z Fagerson, R Gray, Gilchrist, Ritchie (capt), Watson, M Fagerson. Replacements: Ashman, Sutherland, Nel, J Gray, Dempsey, Blanco, Kinghorn, Bennett
New Zealand: J Barrett; Telea, Lienert-Brown, Havili, Clarke; B Barrett, Christie; De Groot, Taukei’aho, Laulala, Whitelock (capt), S Barrett, A Ioane, Papali’i, Savea. Replacements: Taylor, Bower, Newell, Vaa’i, Frizell, Perenara, Perofeta, R Ioane
Finn Russell. To converse. Which is pretty much all they’ve been doing in Scottish rugby for the last few weeks. The discussion will, thankfully, pause for 80 minutes on Sunday when the mercurial genius does his thing at Murrayfield against the All Blacks, reinstated out of the blue at No. 10. Then, no doubt, the debate will resume in earnest, the tenor of the same. determined by the way the mercury has flowed.
It’s already been a whole weekend. From the Black Ferns’ epic victory in the Rugby World Cup final against England, to Italy’s first victory against Australia and the big game between France and South Africa in Marseille last night, it seems we’ve seen it all.
Coming off a one-point loss to the Wallabies and a 28-12 victory against Fiji eight days ago, Scotland now face an All Blacks side who put up 55 points on Wayne Pivac’s Wales in Cardiff. What will Gregor Townsend’s post-Fall Nations Series report card say? We’ll have a better idea in a couple of hours.