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McCaw not taking Scotland lightly

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw insists the All Blacks will not take Scotland lightly as they bid to maintain their long unbeaten streak.

The Scots have never beaten the Kiwis in 29 attempts but will try again at BT Murrayfield on Saturday.

But despite their long run of success, the New Zealand skipper insists there is no chance of his team going easy against Vern Cotter's men.

McCaw - victorious on each of his six visits to Edinburgh - told STV: "We never take it for granted - you have to work hard for everything you get.

"The times I've played here, regardless of what scorelines have been, physically it's always been a tough old battle.

"As is always the case in the Northern Hemisphere the front five battle is always the key. Based on what we saw last week I think that will be the case tomorrow.

"Regardless of what other people think our guys are excited about playing a Test match at Murrayfield in front of a full house. And there's nothing better than putting on a black jersey to do that.

"I play against these guys [new faces in the team] at Super Rugby all the time and I know they are all good players.

"All year when someone has been called upon they have come in and done the job. I'm confident they'll do the job well."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has perhaps indicated his thoughts on the current strength of the Scotland side by making 13 changes to the side which narrowly beat England at Twickenham last weekend.

World-record Test points scorer Dan Carter does return at fly-half and while McCaw is also retained.

As for those coming in, McCaw insists they are more than deserving of their famous black jersey.

"Yes there are a few changes but the guys who have been given their chance are pretty excited," he said. " Most of them have been in their stride most of the year so to see them get a chance means they're excited and I expect them to perform to a high standard. Hopefully that's good enough.

"We saw last week that Scotland have some older heads, especially in that front row and that tight five and they got stuck in last week against Argentina and got some good ball for them to play with.

"It's going to be a good challenge for us.

"There are some guys in there who, like us, haven't played a lot of Tests so I guess our job is to put pressure on them and not give the guys up the back a chance to get easy ball."

McCaw's family lineage can be traced back to the Scottish Borders and the three-time world player of the year added: " I always love coming to Scotland. Both sides of my family come from these parts.

"As a young fella it always felt so far away but to have come here a few times and be here again is great. My second ever Test was here so that sort of thing is pretty cool."


From Belfast Telegraph