(Reuters) - Codie Taylor was drafted in to replace an injured Dane Coles as New Zealand made only one change to their line-up as they look to preserve their 112-year-old unbeaten record in Scotland on Saturday.
Coles was ruled out of the showdown with Scotland after suffering a serious knee injury in last weekend’s 38-18 test victory over France in Paris and has returned home.
Taylor will earn his 27th cap as part of an experienced All Blacks outfit with Nathan Harris taking his place on the bench and flanker Liam Squire also being included among the substitutes after illness kept him in bed for five days last week.
Substitutes Lima Sopoaga and Ofa Tu‘ungafasi are in line to play their fourth match of the world champions’ end-of-season tour, during which they beat the Barbarians at Twickenham and a French XV in Lyon on Tuesday.
”This test against Scotland will be an opportunity for this group of players to take on the challenge of raising the bar on the performance which was set down by their team mates on Tuesday,” coach Steve Hansen said after naming the team on Thursday.
”Scotland will be a formidable opponent who, from all indications, will be looking to play skilful rugby and an up-tempo game. Therefore, we’ll need to meet this challenge head on and be prepared to empty the tank and exert our own pressure upon them.”
The All Blacks have played Scotland 30 times since 1905, with 28 wins and two draws. The last match between the two sides was at Murrayfield three years ago, which New Zealand won 24-16.
Team: 15-Damian McKenzie, 14-Waisake Naholo, 13-Ryan Crotty, 12-Sonny Bill Williams, 11-Rieko Ioane, 10-Beauden Barrett, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Kieran Read (captain), 7-Sam Cane, 6-Vaea Fifita, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Luke Romano, 3-Nepo Laulala, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Kane Hames
Replacements: 16-Nathan Harris, 17-Wyatt Crockett, 18-Ofa Tu‘ungafasi, 19-Liam Squire, 20-Matt Todd, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Lima Sopoaga, 23-Anton Lienert-Brown.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar