I'm backing Robbo's positive mindset

ANDY Robinson's Dark Blues face the ultimate test when they line up against New Zealand at Murrayfield on Sunday.

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Warriors' ace Stuart Hogg relishes the big occasion
Warriors' ace Stuart Hogg relishes the big occasion

You only have to look at the All Blacks' results over the last 12 months to see they are the best team in the world - by some distance.

Not only are they the world champions, but they have just won the inaugural Rugby Championship by winning all six games against Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

So it is important to put in context the size of the challenge that awaits Scotland, and I would say that if we were to beat the tourists it would be our best-ever result at international level and one that would shock the rugby world.

But while there is little point in playing down the size of the challenge Robinson and his side will face, they will take the field in determined mood and buoyed by their own unbeaten tour of Australasia in the summer.

And it is just possible Scotland are getting the All Blacks at the right time as they were not happy with the 18-18 draw in their most recent outing against the Aussies in the Bledisloe Cup.

Robinson has been very positive with the team he has picked. I think the fact he named it on Tuesday is a statement of intent that Scotland are determined to take the game to the All Blacks and, for me, that is the only way to play it.

What will be absolutely key to Scotland's hopes is our ability to retain the ball.

The All Blacks are the best counter-attacking team in the world while they also have the best defence, and that will put extra pressure on us to make the most of the ball when we get it in our hands. It will also be vital we take our chances, and we could be talking just two or three in the 80 minutes.

I was involved in the Scotland set-up as attack coach two years ago when the All Blacks took 49 points off us on a day when they played at a different level, hitting us very hard when we made mistakes.

But I believe Scotland have developed considerably as a team since that one, and you only have to look at results on the Australasia tour to see that is the case.

I am really excited about Stuart Hogg being named at full-back. He lit up the Six Nations for us last season and now, after a frustrating injury, he has begun to get his best form back for Glasgow.

Running out at Murrayfield to play against the All Blacks is something Hoggy will never forget, but he is the type of lad who relishes the big occasion and I am sure he will respond accordingly.

I would also like to single out skipper Kelly Brown.

He was a big favourite at Glasgow before he went south to Saracens a couple of seasons back, and he is an inspirational figure who has come back well from a horrific injury.

But, with the likes of Al Kellock on the bench, and sure to get game time, Kelly will have plenty of help when it comes to leadership.

Sunday will be about playing to our maximum and leaving nothing in the locker - and I think that is a performance this Scotland side are capable of.


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