Cowan: All Blacks team is no snub
Scotland forward Blair Cowan insists the All Blacks have not delivered a snub to the Dark Blues by making wholesale changes ahead of their trip to BT Murrayfield.
While Scots head coach Vern Cotter has named the same starting XV who beat Argentina 41-31 last weekend, New Zealand will have an almost unrecognisable line-up to the one which saw off England at Twickenham.
Captain Richie McCaw - who switches to blind-side flanker - and Ben Smith, now at wing after shifting from full-back, are the only survivors of world champions' 24-21 success in London.
World-record points international scorer Dan Carter does, however, return at fly-half for his first Test start of the year.
And flanker Cowan - a Kiwi by birth who qualifies for Scotland on account of his Scottish mother Joan - said: "It is still a quality side. It's not disrespectful in my eyes. There has been a few changes in personnel but they have put Dan Carter at 10 ... I mean, come on. He's not the man he is today without being a quality player.
"They have Richie McCaw playing too. He's an absolute legend of the game. I have that much respect for him. One of my targets has been to play against the best of the best and he is that.
"The All Blacks are the All Blacks for a reason. They have depth more than any other nation in the world.
"For every man that steps in that jersey, it means the same thing to all of them. Having been raised in New Zealand, I know how much it means to all of them.
"So by no means if we win will anything be taken away from us because of the changes they have made. They could pick from another 20-odd players from their ranks and it would still be a world-class team.
"If we win, it will because we were the best on the day, not because of the team they have out."
And coach Cotter - another New Zealander now flying the flag for Scotland - insists his players will still get the test they deserve following last week's encouraging display against the Pumas.
"The 23 players that are pulling on that jersey for New Zealand will be very good players," said the former Clermont Auvergne boss. "They have got a very strong culture and the guys on Saturday will be eager to become part of the legend.
"You can't talk about first XV and second XV with the All Blacks. They won't put players out unless they are ready.
"We don't see it as a weakened side. If anything we see it that we are playing against future greats."
Saturday's clash in Edinburgh will be the 30th meeting of the nations - with the Scots yet to register a victory in 109 years of trying.
For four-cap Cowan, ending that run of misery would be especially satisfying after turning his back on his Moari heritage inherited from his father's side to play for Scotland.
Instead of falling into formation with the Kiwis as they perform their pre-match battle cry, the 28-year-old London Irish forward line up with the home troops and hope to get himself pumped up by belting out his new national anthem.
"This is a big game," said Cowan, raised in the city of Upper Hutt, near Wellington. "I want to create history. If you want to make your mark in a Scottish jersey it's opportunities like this that you have got to take.
"It is always emotional for me playing for Scotland. It was special last week with my first game at Murrayfield. This time it will be personal for me with the All Blacks in town.
"I enjoyed belting out Flower of Scotland last week. Anyone that knows me will tell you that with any song, I'm terrible with lyrics. I always get them wrong.
"But it was important for me to learn that properly and to sing it with pride and respect, so yeah I did practice it.
"Staring down that haka is something I'm looking forward to this weekend and that I will cherish. I'll soak it in and use it as motivation.
"I can do the haka. You get taught it from an early age in New Zealand. Even your school has its own haka.
"I'm not sure how I'll respond to it. It will be a spur of the moment thing. It will just stand there and stand proud in my Scotland jersey and embrace it."