The All Blacks will look to continue their 31-match unbeaten run against Scotland when they clash at the iconic Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh on Monday morning (NZT).
Match details: All Blacks v Scotland, Monday 14 November, 3.15am NZT (Sunday 13 November, 2.15pm GMT), Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Won: All Blacks 29, Drawn: 2
Last time: All Blacks 22, Scotland 17 (18 November 2017)
Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)
Assistant Referee 1: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
Assistant Referee 2: Chris Busby (IRFU)
TMO: Tom Foley (RFU)
RE-JIGGED ALL BLACKS
While 16 All Blacks have been retained from the match day 23 that played in last week’s win against Wales, some different combinations are set to be used against Scotland. Halfback Finlay Christie will wear the number nine jersey for the third time. Outside him at first-five eighths, Beauden Barrett will mark his 56th Test in the number 10 jersey. Midfielders David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown will feature in the run-on side after being used in tandem as reserves during the last two Tests. Their inclusion sees Jordie Barrett revert to fullback. Mark Telea will make his debut on the right wing. In the forward pack, Samisoni Taukei’aho will start at hooker, Nepo Laulala at tighthead prop and Akira Ioane at blindside flanker. The new faces in the reserves are loosehead prop George Bower, halfback TJ Perenara and utility Stephen Perofeta.
SCOTLAND CALL IN EXPERIENCE
Scotland have made three changes to the side that took out Fiji 28-12 last week. Hooker Fraser Brown, first five-eighth Finn Russell, and centre Sione Tuipulotu all come into the starting side which features seven players who faced the All Blacks back in 2017. The biggest talking point is the inclusion of the dynamic Russell in place of injured playmaker Adam Hastings. Russell was a key performer in Scotland’s last clash against the All Blacks in 2017 and will connect with halfback Ali Price as they did in 2017.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS FOR SCOTLAND
Memories of the heartbreaking 22-17 loss to the All Blacks at Murrayfield in 2017 still loom large for Scotland and their coach Gregor Townsend. Scotland remains the only top-tier rugby nation never to have beaten the All Blacks since they first met on the 1905-06 tour. The closest Scotland has got is a 0-0 draw in 1964 and a 25-25 draw in 1983. In 2017 it took a brilliant cover tackle by Beauden Barrett to prevent Scotland from scoring a potential match-winning try with time up on the clock. When asked if there was unfinished business against New Zealand, Townsend said: “There is 100 years of unfinished business.”
Winger Mark Telea has been selected to make his first Test appearance, four months after initially being called up as COVID cover during the Steinlager series. The 25-year-old was called in as injury cover for this campaign and is now in line to become All Black number 1207. Telea is coming off the back of a stellar season for North Harbour in the Bunnings NPC in 2022 where he was first in defenders beaten (68), third in most metres (1112), third in most carries (116) and fifth in clean breaks (13).
All Blacks coach Ian Foster said Scotland would be a rugged opponent on their home track. “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,” Ian Foster said.
MAKE YOUR PREDICTIONS
Fans are invited to make their call on the All Blacks clash with Scotland for a chance to win a $500 All Blacks Shop voucher. Make your predictions HERE.
TEAMS (Test caps in brackets):
1. Ethan de Groot (11) 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (19) 3. Nepo Laulala (43) 4. Samuel Whitelock (141 – Captain) 5. Scott Barrett (56) 6. Akira Ioane (20) 7. Dalton Papali’i (20) 8. Ardie Savea (68) 9. Finlay Christie (13) 10. Beauden Barrett (110) 11. Caleb Clarke (13) 12. David Havili (23) 13. Anton Lienert-Brown (58) 14. Mark Telea (*) 15. Jordie Barrett (46)
Reserves: 16. Codie Taylor (74) 17. George Bower (20) 18. Fletcher Newell (5) 19. Tupou Vaa’i (17) 20. Shannon Frizell (23) 21. TJ Perenara (78) 22. Stephen Perofeta (2) 23. Rieko Ioane (57)
1. Pierre Schoeman (14) 2. Fraser Brown (55) 3. Zander Fagerson (52) 4. Richie Gray (68) 5. Grant Gilchrist (57) 6. Jamie Ritchie – Captain – (34) 7. Hamish Watson (53) 8. Matt Fagerson (26) 9. Ali Price (56) 10. Finn Russell (63) 11. Duhan van der Merwe (21) 12. Sione Tuipulotu (9) 13. Chris Harris (37) 14. Darcy Graham (31) 15. Stuart Hogg (94)
Reserves: 16. Ewan Ashman (5) 17. Rory Sutherland (21) 18. WP Nel (49) 19. Jonny Gray (70) 20. Jack Dempsey (2) 21. Ben White (7) 22. Blair Kinghorn (36) 23. Mark Bennett (28)
Munster Confirm Three New Signings
Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm the signing of Oli Jager from the Crusaders with the tighthead prop signing a contract until the summer of 2027.
Hooker Eoghan Clarke is rejoining Munster on a short-term contract with back three player Colm Hogan also returning on a short-term deal.
Jager will join the province in the coming weeks with his contract beginning at the start of December.
Born in London, Jager started out at Naas RFC before playing schools rugby at Newbridge College and Blackrock College. He lined out for the Ireland U18 Schools team in 2013 before moving to Canterbury in New Zealand at the age of 17.
Initially attending the Crusaders International High Performance Unit, he earned a place in the Crusaders Academy in 2014. After impressing with New Brighton RFC, he earned a place in the Canterbury squad for the Mitre 10 Cup in 2016.
Jager made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2017 and has been a key member of their squad for the past seven years, winning seven consecutive Super Rugby titles.
Eoghan Clarke spent three years in the Munster Academy before departing for Jersey Reds in March 2021. A former Ireland U20 international, Clarke won the English Championship with Jersey Reds last season before the club went into liquidation last month.
Colm Hogan, who has lined out for Ireland U20 and Munster A in the past, played his schools rugby with Glenstal Abbey. He captained Dublin University in the AIL and also had a spell with Colomiers in the PRO D2 while studying in France.
The 26-year-old played for Leinster against Chile last year and lined out with recent Munster arrival Alex Nankivell for Tasman Mako in the NPC this year.
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Key All Black announces sabbatical to play in Japan
All Blacks captain Sam Cane will take up a sabbatical option in his New Zealand Rugby (NZR) contract in 2024 to play a season for Suntory in Japan League One.
The 31-year-old, 95-Test loose forward will miss the 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season with the Chiefs, but will return to New Zealand in June to be available for selection to the All Blacks for the 2024 Steinlager Series and Rugby Championship campaign.
Cane, who is contracted to NZR through to the end of 2025, said he was looking forward to experiencing a new playing environment with Suntory and learning more about a new culture in Japan.
“When the opportunity to play for Suntory in 2024 came up it felt like the right time following the Rugby World Cup to try something new and also a great chance to continue to grow and learn in my rugby and life journey. I’m grateful to New Zealand Rugby for their support to take this opportunity.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to skip a season with the Chiefs, but I know the team is in a great place and has an incredible group of leaders in the squad and the coaching group to have a successful 2024, and I’m really pleased to be able to return in time to put my best foot forward for selection in the All Blacks.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said:
“Sam’s decision to take a sabbatical in 2024 has our full support and we wish him and his family all the best for their time in Japan. There are very few players who have given as much as he has to the jerseys he’s worn in his career to date and it’s a mark of his commitment to the All Blacks that he will return and make himself available for the Test season.”
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said:
“Sam has given everything to this team on and off the field and deserves to take this opportunity to experience something different. He is an exceptional player and influential leader who has been an integral part of the Gallagher Chiefs for many years. We wish him and his family all the best and hope they enjoy their time in Japan after a full-on year.”
Key All Black commits to Gallagher Chiefs until 2025
Dominant loose forward Luke Jacobson has extended his contract with the Gallagher Chiefs, Waikato and New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2025.
The 18-test All Black was a consistent starter for the Gallagher Chiefs this year and a key element of their outstanding DHL Super Rugby Pacific performances. He consequently went on to be named in the All Blacks squad to travel to France.
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan is delighted to have Jacobson sticking around for another two seasons.
“Luke is an outstanding player; he’s a workhorse, a consistent performer and considered a real warrior within our group. Luke leads by example both on and off the field. He isnt one to waste words and prefers to let his actions speak for themself. In the absence of some senior players who have moved on, I have no doubt Luke will play an integral part providing the leadership and guidance our younger players will be looking for”.
Jacobson has impressed throughout his career, playing for the New Zealand U20s team twice and captaining them in his second season to win the 2017 U20 World Championship title. This aptitude for leadership has seen him pull on the Gallagher Chiefs captain’s armband on multiple occasions.
Waikato Rugby head coach Ross Filipo is excited about Luke extending his career with Waikato. “He is a great man and a great leader who continues to make huge contributions on and off the field and always represents the region with pride.”
Speaking on his signing Jacobson said: “I’m stoked to signing on with the Waikato, Chiefs and NZR for another two years. I love representing these teams and am very proud to be able to call myself a Waikato/Chiefs man and also and All black. I’m hungry to succeed with these teams and tick off a few unticked boxes.”
The 2024 Gallagher Chiefs squad will be named later this year ahead of assembling for pre-season training.