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RLWC Preview: New Zealand vs. Scotland

Dan Talintyre

NZ v SCO

After a convincing first-up win, New Zealand will look to look to take the next step in their World Cup campaign when they take on Scotland at Christchurch Stadium.

Tipped by some to struggle in the tournament with a number of high-profile stars not available, David Kidwell’s side showed no signs of rust with a convincing win over Samoa to start the campaign — running away with the contest late to win by 30 points.

Perhaps most notably for the Kiwis was their ability to improve on that result; Kidwell commented post-game about their poor completion rate and high error count, and if they can get that right against Scotland, it should be a fairly straightforward match.

Scotland were gutsy in the second half of their match against Tonga to kick off their tournament, but the damage was already done in the opening 40 minutes.

The Bravehearts simply had no answers to the size and power of the Tongan forward pack, and were swiftly cut to shreds in the middle and out wide to trail by 38 points at the break.

They’ll need to improve right across the board if they’re any chance at beating the Kiwis — a tough ask for the visitors with a vocal and fired up Christchurch crowd expected.
 

Group B: New Zealand vs. Scotland

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Saturday, November 4, 2017

Time — 3:00pm AEDT

Venue — Christchurch Stadium, New Zealand

 

LIVE STREAM AND TV INFORMATION

Live Stream — Channel 7’s https://7live.com.au/ (Australia only)

TV — Click here for a full country-by-country list of TV broadcasts.

 

TEAM NEWS

New Zealand

 

Scotland

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

1

Alex Walker

Jason Nightingale

2

Lewis Tierney

Dean Whare

3

Ben Hellewell

Brad Takairangi

4

Lachlan Stien

Peta Hiku

5

Matthew Russell

Te Maire Martin

6

Danny Brough

Shaun Johnson

7

Oscar Thomas

Martin Taupau

8

Luke Douglas

Elijah Taylor

9

Danny Addy

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves

10

Ben Kavanagh

Kenny Bromwich

11

Jarred Anderson

Joseph Tapine

12

Dale Ferguson

Adam Blair (capt.)

13

James Bell

Nelson Asofa-Solomona

14

Kane Bentley

Russell Packer

15

Sam Brooks

Addin Fonua-Blake

16

Brandan Wilkinson

Danny Levi

17

Johnny Walker

Reserves (NZ) — Thomas Leuluai, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Simon Mannering, Jordan Rapana

Reserves (SCO) — Andrew Bentley, Callum Phillips, Shane Toal, Frankie Mariano

 

RLWC STANDINGS — POOL B

 

Played

Won

Lost

F/A

Points

Tonga

1

1

0

+44

2

New Zealand

1

1

0

+30

2

Samoa

1

0

1

-30

0

Scotland

1

0

1

-44

0

 

HISTORY

Scotland and New Zealand have only squared off on two occasions in history, with Scotland yet to taste victory. In the 2013 World Cup, the Bravehearts were blown away 40-4 at Headingley, while in their most recent encounter, they came within a whisker of a memorable victory — earning a 14-14 draw as part of the 2016 Four Nations campaign. Scotland also played a one-off match against the New Zealand Maori side as part of the 2000 World Cup, with a Gene Ngamu field goal seeing the Maori home 17-16.

 

PLAYER TO FOLLOW — Te Maire Martin, New Zealand

Heading in to the tournament, one of the biggest storylines to follow for New Zealand was as to who would replace Kieran Foran in the halves alongside Shaun Johnson. In the Kiwis’ opening game, it was Nikorima who earned the spot and certainly made the most of it with a hand in several tries. Now, in-form Cowboys playmaker Te Maire Martin gets his shot as Coach Kidwell looks to see who fits better alongside Johnson for the latter stages of the tournament. Martin’s running game in particular improved greatly throughout the finals series as he helped the Cowboys to a memorable Grand Final appearance — the question now remains as to whether he can keep that going now on the international stage and stake his claim to feature permanently alongside Johnson.

 

PREDICTION

Scotland showed some fight in the second half against Tonga, but it wasn’t good enough from the Bravehearts overall and they’ll struggle again here. New Zealand will be conscious of what happened last time these two sides met, and with seven changes from the opening week, players will be desperate to earn their spot in the team moving forward and should deliver an impressive performance. The Kiwis might ease up late again, but the game will be all over bar the shouting by then. New Zealand by 36. 

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