Scotland pose a new challenge to the All Blacks - Foster

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Of them, wing Mark Telea will debut on the right wing. Originally called into the squad during the Ireland series as Covid cover, he returned as injury cover at the start of the northern hemisphere tour.

Coach Ian Foster said that since joining the squad, he had trained well, had good aerial skills and was hungry for a chance.

He had been around the squad during the year and was one of the form players of the Super Rugby season and followed that with a strong Bunnings Cup campaign for North Harbour.

Scotland would be a rugged opponent, Foster said.

"They are robust at the breakdown and play with quite a bit of adventure to their game.

"They challenge you in different areas with some different types of plays that some other teams challenge you up here. In the last couple of years, they've shown they can get up and play very well in big games.

"I guess they're searching for consistency as well as a team but the upside is their top game is at a pretty high level."

The All Blacks hadn't played Scotland since 2017, and when there was that length of time between games, it was important to glean information about them.

"It's important that we are clear about the threats that they have," he said.


Beauden Barrett returns to start at first five-eighths, and Foster said he was still a very good five-eighths, and they wanted to keep him in form in that position.

Jordie Barrett starts at fullback, but Foster said it was a case of wait-and-see whether he played there or second five-eighths in the future.

They were forced to adjust their back three when Will Jordan was unavailable to tour.

David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown are paired in the midfield. They had come off the bench in the last two weeks and had trained together through that time.

"I expect them to play like an All Black midfield. David had a strong Rugby Championship and finished that with an injury and has come back strong. He brings a different skill set to Jordie, and I'm looking forward to seeing him utilise that.

"And Alby [Lienert-Brown] I want to see him out there smiling and running round and doing what he does. He's a very experienced [58 Tests] midfield for us and he's hungry to get back in."

With two Tests left in their year, it was important to keep energy levels high in the side, and Foster said he hadn't fixated on the number of changes because many of the combinations were together at the end of the Wales Test.

"So it's not like they haven't played together. We need to ensure we lift our performance again for what is going to be a big challenge."

Foster said the selection was aimed at the threat Scotland posed and the growth within some of the New Zealand players.


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