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Blair to lead Scotland

Guinness PRO12 Editor

9 Nov 2010

Edinburgh scrum-half Mike Blair will captain Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday against Tri-Nations Champions New Zealand.

Blair is one of five changes announced by coach Andy Robinson from the team that beat Argentina in summer and is handed the captain’s armband after an impressive run of form at club level.

The number nine jersey has been fiercely contested between Blair, Chris Cusiter and Rory Lawson over recent years and with his rivals nursing injuries Blair will look to take control of the half-back position at the weekend.

The hosts are unbeaten in their last four tests but will face an All Black’s side that is already at international intensity with games against Australia and England under their belt.

Alastair Kellock’s injury sees Glasgow’s Richie Gray come into the second row with Rory Lamont, prop Euan Murray and number eight Richie Vernon the other changes to the side.

"It is imperative that we front up from the first whistle against the All Blacks on Saturday," Robinson said.

"We have shown our appetite to drive forward our game and our aim is to improve on our best performances last season, which we know inspired the country."

Scotland – 15-Hugo Southwell, 14-Rory Lamont, 13-Max Evans, 12-Graeme Morrison, 11-Sean Lamont, 10-Dan Parks, 9-Mike Blair; 8-Richie Vernon, 7-John Barclay, 6-Kelly Brown, 5-Jim Hamilton, 4-Richie Gray, 3-Euan Murray, 2-Ross Ford, 1-Allan Jacobsen.

Replacements: 16-Scott Lawson, 17-Alasdair Dickinson, 18-Nathan Hines, 19-Ross Rennie, 20-Rory Lawson, 21-Ruaridh Jackson, 22-Nikki Walker.