Carter to start, McCaw plays blindside for All Blacks

(Reuters)

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - New Zealand flyhalf Daniel Carter will start his first test in almost a year and captain Richie McCaw will play at blindside flanker for the first time when the All Blacks meet Scotland on Saturday.

Carter last started a game for the world champions last November against England, when he won his 100th test cap, but has barely played at all in 2014 following a six-month sabbatical and his recovery from a broken leg.

"What I've liked about him on tour is that he's excited, he's like a young Dan Carter again," coach Steve Hansen told reporters of the decision to give the 32-year-old the start ahead of Aaron Cruden or Beauden Barrett.

"He's pretty desperate to get out there and start the game and play a big part in it."

Captain McCaw, who has played openside flanker for the majority of his career, will make his first appearance in the number six jersey for the All Blacks as Hansen looks at the impact he and Cane could make from the start of a match.

"If you are thinking are we turning Richie into a six? Then no," he said. "This is a chance to start, and have some planning and training time to grow and see how the combination goes. But we've got no long-term thoughts of moving Rick to six.

"We think Scotland is going to try and play an open game and we want to put as much pressure on them at the breakdown as we can."

Hooker James Parsons, who was called into the squad in London after Nathan Harris was sent home with an ankle injury, will also make his test debut at Murrayfield in an experimental team that includes flyhalf Colin Slade on the right wing.

Slade's inclusion, however, will give him the opportunity to showcase his versatility as Hansen looks to cover as many positions as possible within a 30-man squad at next year's World Cup.

"He can play on the wing, he can play fullback, he can play five-eighth, so gives us the ability to have someone to fit in pretty seamlessly," the coach said.

"When we go to the World Cup we need to have players like that."

New Zealand: 15-Ben Smith, 14-Colin Slade, 13-Malakai Fekitoa, 12-Ryan Crotty, 11-Charles Piutau, 10-Daniel Carter, 9-TJ Perenara, 8-Victor Vito, 7-Sam Cane, 6-Richie McCaw (captain), 5-Dominic Bird, 4-Jeremy Thrush, 3-Charlie Faumuina, 2-James Parsons, 1-Joe Moody.

Replacements: 16-Dane Coles, 17-Wyatt Crockett, 18-Ben Franks, 19-Luke Romano, 20-Liam Messam, 21-Augustine Pulu, 22-Sonny Bill Williams, 23-Julian Savea

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Source Reuters

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