New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith has warned the All Blacks they underestimate the challenge posed by Scotland at their peril at Murrayfield tomorrow.
The Scots might have picked up the wooden spoon at the end of the last RBS 6 Nations and be the lowest ranked team in the IRB standings that New Zealand will face this autumn, but Smith insists they still have the potential to deliver a shock if the tourists are not on top of their game.
Smith warns his players will have to be particularly wary of the Scottish midfield axis of Phil Godman, Nick De Luca and Ben Cairns.
He said: “I know Phil quite well from when I was coaching at Northampton and he was at Newcastle – particularly from Monday night games because he was just a youngster then.
“He’s quite a good tactical kicker, he gets the backline moving pretty well and he does all the basics. Against Argentina he ran pretty well and took the line on.
“The two centres are also worth keeping an eye on. They’ve got talent, they are good ball players, they’re quick and they’ve got big hearts, so they should pose a real attacking threat. Hopefully it will be a good test for our guys.”
It is not only behind the scrum that New Zealand are going to have to be fully switched on.
“They’ve got a big pack with a lot of experience, and they’re obviously looking to put heat on us in that area. They’re obviously going to try to do the business up front first,” said Smith.
“There is no doubt that it will be a challenge on Saturday.
“Every team on this tour will be good, professionally coached and out to beat us. It’s another opportunity for these guys to pull on the jersey and play proudly for New Zealand.
“You have to be at the top of your game every time you do that,” he added.