Scotland name seven uncapped players in squad to face All Blacks

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson

Andy Robinson has named seven uncapped players in his 34-man Scotland squad for the autumn Test against New Zealand.

Stuart McInally, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour, Henry Pyrgos and Grant Gilchrist have been included.

The Scots face New Zealand on 11 November, South Africa six days later and Tonga in Aberdeen on 24 November.

Robinson described the All Blacks as "formidable opponents".

Kelly Brown, Rory Lawson, Jim Hamilton, Kyle Traynor and Ruaridh Jackson return after being absent for the summer tour wins against Australia, Fiji and Samoa.

Saracens flanker Brown was in line to skipper Scotland during the Six Nations but suffered a fractured ankle, with Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford handed the armband.

An announcement on the captaincy will be made next week.

Scotland, ranked ninth in the world, have never beaten New Zealand but a strong series of results would improve their hopes for the 2015 Rugby World Cup - with the draw taking place in early December.

Edinburgh pair McInally and Gilchrist will join Glasgow Warriors quintet Dunbar, Horne, Murchie, Seymour and Pyrgos when the training camp assembles in St Andrews.

"It's always an exciting time when the Scotland squad comes together ahead of the first Test match of the season," Robinson said.

Interview - Andy Robinson

"It's some four months since Scotland last played an international, so when the squad reconvenes there will be an element of renewing acquaintances and reigniting the spark and spirit that was such a key part of our success on our summer tour [to the Southern Hemisphere].

"New Zealand are formidable opponents. They do the basics exceptionally well and play with a pace and ruthlessness. It's no coincidence that they are the best team in the world.

"We must look to build on the physical commitment of our players against Australia, Fiji and Samoa."

Scotland last met New Zealand in 2010, buoyed by wins in Ireland and Argentina, only for the All Blacks to ease to a crushing 49-3 victory.

On the challenge of facing the World champions, Robinson added: "It's a great opportunity for players to really test themselves and for us to be clear on where we are.

"For us it's about having a belief about what we're trying to do, the roles and everybody being clear in their roles going into the game, understanding how we can put New Zealand under pressure and putting in an 80-minute performance."

Sale Sharks second-rower Richie Gray, Edinburgh fly-half Greig Laidlaw and Edinburgh wing Tim Visser are all currently carrying injuries but are expected to be fit for selection.

Scotland are without a number of players through injury, including backs Chris Cusiter, Joe Ansbro, Rory Lamont, Graeme Morrison and Nikki Walker.

Alasdair Dickinson, Ed Kalman and Moray Low are among the sidelined forwards.

Scotland squad:

Backs: Blair, De Luca, Dunbar, Evans, Hogg, Horne, Jackson, Jones, Laidlaw, S Lamont, R Lawson, Murchie, Pyrgos, Scott, Seymour, Visser.

Forwards: Barclay, Brown, Cross, Denton, Ford, Gilchrist, Grant, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Jacobsen, Kellock, S Lawson, McInally, Rennie, Ryder, Strokosch, Traynor.

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