Richie McCaw confident in ABs new No 7 Cane against Scotland

Richie McCaw might receive a gentle flick on the ear if he accidentally grabs the No 7 jersey in the All Blacks’ changing shed at Murrayfield tomorrow morning.

Because that garment is no longer his to own. Not against Scotland, anyway.

The honour of wearing the jersey that McCaw has largely owned since his debut in late 2001 will go to Sam Cane for the test in Edinburgh, forcing the skipper to start his first test in 136 appearances at blindside flanker.

While perching on the blindside of scrums won’t be a foreign experience, given McCaw has played there enough times for the Crusaders in recent years, he still may need to think twice about where to crouch when the All Blacks set their first set-piece against the Scots.

The 33-year-old captain, though, is certain Cane won’t be exposed in his 22nd test appearance.

“Each time he has had a crack off the bench he has done a good job, so he deserves to have a go,” McCaw said. “I am thankful to have a go as well.”

At the Crusaders, McCaw often starts at No 6 to accommodate the fetcher Matt Todd.

The All Blacks’ selectors decision to start dual ball scavengers will force Scotland to be ultra-cautious when charging into contact because offering the hunters easy offerings could cause damage on the scoreboard.

Cane has slowly been brought to the boil by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen since being introduced to the squad in 2012 and having McCaw on the park to help guide him if he feels any uncertainty may be of some comfort.

For his part, McCaw doesn’t expect to have to amend his approach a great deal. While he will need to be wary about guarding the short side and possibly filling the gap over the ball more at the breakdowns, he will still be conscious of the need to keep zoning in for turnovers.

“For myself, not a whole lot different (will change). Obviously there is a few different roles around the lineout. Throughout the year, with Sam coming off the bench on occasion, I have slipped back to six so I have been pretty aware of those little roles.

“You don’t want to approach it too much differently.”

In 29 clashes the All Blacks have never lost to Scotland. They have drawn twice, in 1964 and 1983, with scores of 0-0 and 25-25.

“I always like coming to Scotland and both sides of my family come from these parts,” McCaw acknowledged. “I love playing here, my second test was here so that side of thing is pretty cool.”

TEAMS

ALL BLACKS: Ben Smith, Colin Slade, Malakai Fekitoa, Ryan Crotty, Charle Piutau, Dan Carter, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Sam Cane, Richie McCaw, Dominic Bird, Jeremy Thrush, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Joe Moody. Reserves: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Luke Romano, Liam Messam, Augustin Pulu, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea.

SCOTLAND: Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Alastair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Euan Murray; Richie Gray, Jonny Gray; Rob Harley, Blair Cowan, Adam Ashe. Reserves: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Geoff Cross, Tim Swinson, Johnnie Beattie; Chris Cusiter, Duncan Weir, Sean Lamont.

Kick off: 7.30 pm Referee: Romain Poite (FRA)

– Stuff

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About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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