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Hansen: Scots deserve respect

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen insists Sunday’s opponents Scotland must be respected.

 
 

Steve Hansen

ALL BLACKS coach Steve Hansen insists Sunday’s opponents Scotland must be respected.

The two sides meet in Edinburgh on Sunday, resuming a 107-year rivalry that has seen the New Zealanders win 26 of the 28 meetings.

The other two results were draws.

The closest losing margin in the last five tests in Edinburgh was 19 points, and only nine of the current All Blacks squad were alive when they last drew 29 years ago.

Their domestic game isn’t much better, with Scottish teams losing eight of their nine Heineken Cup matches.

Hansen, however, was keen to talk up his opponents, despite them finishing last in the most recent Six Nations.

“They are very physical and have one of the biggest packs we’ll come across,” Hansen told Fairfax NZ.

“At home they are a very proud nation. They will play tenaciously and look to slow our ball down. They’ll look to play a bit more attacking rugby with (new skills coach) Scotty Johnson around. Right across the pack they will attack us. It will be a good challenge.”

Scotland lost all five matches in last year’s Six Nations, and failed to make the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time ever.

They have been better this year however, beating Australia 9-6, as well as Fiji and Samoa.

“They showed in the conditions down in Australia they are good enough to beat tier-one sides on their day,” Hansen said. “Nothing has changed in my opinion. We’ve got to respect them immensely.

“For us, the challenge all year has been the opposition and improving our performance. We’ve come off a pretty average one against Australia, an 18-all draw. There’s a fair bit of disappointment around that. Some people are going to get an early opportunity to rectify that; others will have to wait a bit longer.”

 
 

 

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