Eight was far from Scotland’s lucky number yesterday as Glasgow Warriors captain Ryan Wilson was ruled out of tomorrow’s international clash with the All Blacks while the man he expected to be going head to head with was cleared to play.

Reports of a groin problem had raised serious doubts about Kiwi skipper Kieran Read’s availability for the Murrayfield clash, but his coach Steve Hansen apologised for having previously misreported the injury, saying the problem was with his hip flexor which tends to be more responsive to treatment.

That meant the only change to the tourists’ line-up from the side that out-played France last weekend in winning 38-18 was the enforced one at hooker where Codie Taylor has replaced Dane Coles as Hansen admitted that their hosts had earned the right to increased respect.

“Last time (on their 2014 tour) we rolled the dice a bit, but we had a far more experienced group too to be able to roll the dice. This time we rolled the dice on Tuesday so we don’t have to roll it twice,” he pointed out.

He paid tribute to the work done by Vern Cotter, his fellow New Zealander who was controversially axed at the end of last season and suggested that his successor Gregor Townsend now needs only to apply the finishing touches.

“Vern’s done a really good job with Scotland and Gregor will come in and he’ll add his touch. You’ve got a back and a forward there, so the forward’s given them a little bit of edge and Gregor’ll come in and polish that edge and make it into a lovely gem I should imagine,” said Hansen.

After he, too, made only enforced changed, bringing in Cornell du Preez for a first Murrayfield start and Glasgow’s Zander Fagerson for Willem Nel who broke his arm during the 44-38 win over Samoa last week, Townsend welcomed the compliment his team had been paid in the quality of the team Hansen had selected.

“It shows that they view us as a very competitive side that they have to play their best to beat,” he said.

However he knows that only increases the size of the task facing his men as they seek to become the first Scottish team ever to beat the All Blacks.

“It’s the biggest challenge that any country, any player faces in rugby, to play the best rugby team,” said Townsend.

“They’ve been the number one ranked team for eight years I heard today. There’s not many nations or clubs that can do that in any sport, so you know it’s the ultimate test, so you know you’ve got to get the focus, the best out of yourself and your team-mates and view it as an opportunity.

“It’s a huge challenge but also a huge opportunity for our players.”

While some have suggested that an All Black team that has lost three matches in little more than a year is more vulnerable than some of its predecessors, Townsend also noted that the most recent evidence indicates otherwise.

“If you go to Paris in the rain and put thirty points on a French team in the first half that shows them how good they are and how quickly they have adjusted to playing in the northern hemisphere,” he said.