Kellock misses out on All Blacks clash

PETER WRIGHT believes the omission of Glasgow skipper Al Kellock from the Scotland team to face the All Blacks at Murrayfield on Sunday is a mistake.

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Al Kellock raises his arm in celebration after Scotland's famous win over Australia in June
Al Kellock raises his arm in celebration after Scotland's famous win over Australia in June

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has made five changes from the team that completed a 100% winning record in Australasia during the summer for the first EMC Autumn Test against New Zealand.

But former Scotland and British Lions star Wright reckons the second-row combination of former Warrior Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton is a concern.

He said: "I think Al Kellock is very unlucky not to be starting in the second row. For me, he is the form second row available to Andy Robinson, and I think alongside Richie Gray that would provide a better balance in a key area.

"So I think that is the main surprise for me and Kellock can consider himself very unlucky not to start. But on the whole I don't think there are any other real surprises, although in the backrow we maybe look a bit lightweight."

Nick De Luca returns for the injured Joe Ansbro at centre, while at scrum-half Mike Blair replaces the injured Chris Cusiter. Up front Geoff Cross, Jim Hamilton and captain Kelly Brown appear in the pack instead of Euan Murray, Kellock and Richie Vernon.

But Wright has no doubt how tough it will be to get a result against the world champions.

He said: "Given it is our first test of the Autumn Series, it will take a massive effort."

Robinson knows his side must improve on their June displays to have any hope of beating the All Blacks for the first time.

The coach said: "We need to step up from the summer tour and be ready to go toe to toe in a physical contest, just as Australia did most recently against New Zealand in Brisbane."

The match is a near 67,144 sell-out, with further Tests against South Africa and Tonga, in Aberdeen, to come this month.

SCOTLAND: Hogg, Lamont, De Luca, Scott, Visser, Laidlaw, Blair, Grant, Ford, Cross, Gray, Hamilton, Strokosch, Rennie, Brown.

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