James Parsons To Start For All Blacks Against Scotland

The New Zealand team to play Scotland this weekend in the third Test of the year-end tour has been named, with hooker James Parsons capping off a whirlwind call-up to the All Blacks by being named in the starting XV.  The Kiwis play Scotland at Murrayfield this Saturday 15 November.  (Kick-off: 17:30PM UKT)  Two of the locks, Brodie Retallick (shoulder) and Patrick Tuipulotu (shoulder),  were not considered for selection, due to injury.

As a result, lock Dominic Bird, who, like Parsons, was called into the squad as injury cover, will start, with Luke Romano coming off the bench.  Loose forward Jerome Kaino (knee) was also not considered for selection.  The matchday 23 for Saturday features 11 players from the 23 which played England last week.

From last week’s starting XV,Ben Smith moves to fullback with Colin Slade on the wing, while skipper Richie McCaw will clock up a new first in his stellar career: he is making his first Test start in the number six jersey, to make way for Sam Cane at openside flanker.  Joining Smith and Slade in the back three is Charles Piutau, while there is a new midfield combination, with Ryan Crotty at 12 and Malaki Fekitoa at centre.  Daniel Carter makes his first Test start of the year at first five-eighth in his 102nd Test, with TJ Perenara at halfback.

In the forwards, Victor Vito is at number eight alongside McCaw and Cane in the back row.  Bird will play his second Test at lock alongside Jeremy Thrush, while the new front row will see Joe Moody and Charlie Faumuina prop alongside Parsons.  On the bench, the forward reserves are hooker Dane Coles, props Ben Franks and Wyatt Crockett, Romano and loose forward Liam Messam, while the back reserves are halfback Augustine Pulu, midfielder Sonny Bill Williams and winger Julian Savea.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said, “We have had a good week’s preparation so far, there is a spring in the step of the team and real excitement looking forward to the Scottish Test.  We have a lot of respect for the Scots and, like all Northern Hemisphere teams, know that they will bring a lot of physicality to the park.  However, we also expect them to want to move the ball, particularly from any turnovers or free kicks.  That style certainly suited them last week and makes them, we believe, even more dangerous.  Though we have made changes to our team, there is an expectation that those who fill the jersey will deliver quality performances.”

The team is (Test caps in brackets):

Starting XV:

1. Joe Moody (6)
2. James Parsons 
3. Charlie Faumuina (25)
4. Jeremy Thrush (10)
5. Dominic Bird (1)
6. Richie McCaw – captain (135)
7. Sam Cane (21)
8. Victor Vito (25)
9. TJ Perenara (9)
10. Daniel Carter (101)
11. Charles Piutau (12)
12. Ryan Crotty (11)
13. Malakai Fekitoa (7)
14. Colin Slade (15)
15. Ben Smith (36)


16. Dane Coles (25)
17. Wyatt Crockett (34)
18. Ben Franks (40)
19. Luke Romano (16)
20. Liam Messam (38)
21. Augustine Pulu (1)
22. Sonny Bill Williams (21)
23. Julian Savea (31)