Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has handed Edinburgh flanker Ross Rennie an international recall as one of five changes to his side that will face New Zealand at Murrayfield this weekend.
Rennie, 24, won his solitary international cap against Ireland in 2008, where he came on as a replacement late on during Scotland’s defeat at Croke Park.
He then suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament injury which kept him sidelined for nine months, while Edinburgh coaches Rob Moffat and Tom Smith have been keen to monitor the young flanker’s progress since his return last season.
But the Edinburgh flanker has now been given his opportunity, albeit from the replacements bench, to test himself against the world’s best side.
Robinson has also handed first test starts to young Glasgow Warriors duo Richie Gray and Richie Vernon at lock and number eight respectively.
Of his inlcusion of 20-year old Gray, Robinson said: “He has been in outstanding form for Glasgow and we hope he can continue that at the weekend (against New Zealand). He was the first name on the team sheet.”
Edinburgh scrum-half Mike Blair returns in the number nine jersey and will captain the side on the occasion of his 65th cap.
Toulon winger Rory Lamont has also earned a recall and will wear the number 14 jersey, replacing the injured Simon Danielli, with brother Sean again selected on the opposite wing.
The Scots are minus Glasgow trio Alistair Kellock, Chris Cusiter and Johnnie Beattie for the match but will still hope to challenge the world’s best side.
Head coach Robinson said: “The main thing for us is that we focus on ourselves-we put New Zealand under pressure when they’ve got the ball and we fight like anything to get it back, but when we get it, we’ve got to establish a go-forward.”
It will be a big ask for the home side, against an All Blacks team that’s lost just once this year, but Robinson and captain Mike Blair will hope that home support will guide them to their first ever win over the Kiwi’s.