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November internationals: Gray in line for Scotland start

The giant second row must still undergo a fitness test later this week.

Gray in everyday attire... or possible at an embarrassing 'fashion show' in New York.
Gray in everyday attire... or possible at an embarrassing 'fashion show' in New York.
Image: Brad Barket/PA Archive/Press Association Images.

SCOTLAND HAVE NAMED inspirational second row Richie Gray in the starting line-up for this weekend’s encounter with world champions New Zealand.

The Sale Sharks lock has been suffering with an ankle injury this season and will undergo a fitness test before the game, but his inclusion will be a massive boost for Andy Robinson’s side ahead of the most daunting task in the world rugby.

The line-up includes five changes from the side which ended an unbeaten summer tour, with Geoff Cross, Jim Hamilton and new captain Kelly Brown coming into the pack . Nick de Luca and Mike Blair come in at centre and scrum half respectively for the injured Joe Ansbro and Chris Cusiter.

Cusiter’s deputy will be uncapped Glasgow Warriors scrum half, Henry Pyrgos, who wins a seat on the bench.

Like Ireland, Scotland have never managed a win against the All Blacks who arrive in Edinburgh off the back of an impressive Rugby Championship win. Scotland, though, will enjoy the rare experience of a packed Murrayfield.

“For our first game of the season we will really need to start well and keep the game simple,” Robinson told AFP.

“New Zealand are the world champions and they perform the basic skills, well, under the highest pressure.

“We need to step up from the (European) 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.”

New Zealand are due to name their team on Friday.

Scotland XV v New Zealand: S Hogg; S Lamont, N de Luca, M Scott, T Visser; G Laidlaw, M Blair; K Brown (capt), R Rennie, A Strokosch; J Hamilton, R Gray; G Cross, R Ford, R Grant

Replacements: S Lawson, A Jacobsen, K Traynor, A Kellock, DDenton, H Pyrgos, R Jackson.

Additional reporting by AFP.

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