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Scotland have injury worries ahead of All Blacks

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Sportal.co.nz     05 Nov 2012     Getty Images

Scotland has issues with its locking resources. Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton are injured and may both be unable to take their place in the side.

Gray, who plays for Sale, was reported to be unlikely to play for 'another week or two', according to Scotland on Sunday.

Hamilton has been out of action with a rib injury and missed the last two games in the Premiership for his Gloucester side.

Their plight is representative of some other issues facing Scotland. Already ruled out of consideration are forwards Alasdair Dickinson, Ed Kalman and Moray Low while prop Euan Murray doesn't play on Sundays. Missing from the backline will be Chris Cusiter, Joe Ansbro, Rory Lamont, Graeme Morrison and Nikki Walker.

With New Zealand's most experienced lock Ali Williams having missed out on a great deal of match play in the latter part of the domestic season at home, the Scotland Test should be a relatively easier step back into international play.

Meanwhile, the Test represents a chance for loosehead prop Ryan Grant to build on the reputation he has already established in Scotland's front row. He is being touted as a genuine contender for the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia next year.

He's not put off by Scotland's lack of favouritism for the game.

"People are going to think what they want to think," he told the newspaper.

"It's what 15 boys who take the park on the day thing and we can win. Why can't we win? It's a rugby game and they [New Zealand] are human like the rest of us, they make mistakes.

"Our video analyst Rob Holdsworth made up a tape for us showing up flaws in the All Blacks' game and they are just like any other team. There are mistakes in there.

"They play fantastically well but a lot of what they do is off the back of mistakes by the other team. So, if we keep ourselves clean in that respect..."

Grant said Scotland had put a lot of emphasis on their defence which was vital because of the running ability of the All Blacks.

"We need to tackle them low with two-man tackles to stop the off-loads. I think if we can take that element away from their game, stop them running with the ball, anything is possible," he said.