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Robinson plans aggressive strategy

New Zealand may be the world's number one team, but Andy Robinson is focused on how Scotland can attack in Saturday's opening autumn international.

Rather than looking at how Scotland can stop the All Blacks, Robinson is eager for his side to play on the front foot and take on the tourists up front.

Robinson said: "The main thing for us is that we focus on ourselves - we put New Zealand under pressure when they've got the ball and we fight like anything to get it back, but when we've got it, we've got to establish a go-forward."

He added: "We've got to be able to get that quality ball so we are able to control possession. Every ruck will be challenged, so the ability to dominate the collisions and get a go-forward will certainly help us."

On Tuesday afternoon Robinson announced five changes to the starting XV which began Scotland's last Test - the series clinching second Test win over Argentina on June 19 - with Edinburgh scrum-half Mike Blair named captain in place of Glasgow Warriors second row Alastair Kellock, who was not considered due to a recent knee injury.

Blair was included ahead of Rory Lawson, who is named on the bench, with Euan Murray, Richie Gray, Richie Vernon and Rory Lamont also coming into the first XV, while Ruaridh Jackson could make his debut after being named on the bench.

Robinson is excited about the prospects of 21-year-old second row Gray, who stands at 6ft 8in and 19st 9lbs, and number eight Vernon, 23.

"Richie Vernon has been playing well for Glasgow and I've been following him for a couple of years," he said. "He has pace and I think that's a key quality in the back row.

"Richie Gray comes into the second row and I think he's been outstanding for Glasgow all season.

"If he can just bring that form for us on to the international stage, he's going to be an international player for a long, long time."


From Belfast Telegraph