Rugby: Murray inspired by the passion of Scottish fans

When Allan Jacobsen and Euan Murray line up side-by-side in Scotland's front row against the All Blacks on Saturday, there will be wry smiles amongst those who saw the pair lock horns like rutting stags when Edinburgh Rugby confronted Northampton in a recent European Cup tie.

From the moment Murray was introduced as a second-half substitute for Northampton, it was a case of 'no holds barred' as each tried to get the upper hand and a superb cameo in an absorbing match unfolded. Exactly what you'd expect from top level professional sport.

Confirming what close observers have long known, though, the pair may be rivals at club level, but when it comes to the cap cause all that testosterone and aggression displayed at Murrayfield last month will be channelled in the same direction with Murray especially delighted to be back after missing the summer tour of Argentina.

"I really get on well with Chunk (Jacobsen)," he said.

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"I know how he plays and he knows how I play so maybe there was a bit of cancelling each other out in the Heineken Cup and afterwards there was a wee bit of banter, although not that much as we had to get back on the road south pretty much straightaway."

On the subject of aggression, Murray is adamant that element will be the key this weekend, along with ensuring a better start than when he faced the All Blacks for the only time in his career in 2008.

Although Murray did such a powerful job on his opposite number to the extent that it remains the 20-stone Jamie Mackintosh's one and only All Black cap so far, a careless sin-binning in the Scottish back line for kicking the ball away at a penalty saw immediate retribution exacted and, from then on, it was catch-up rugby.

"The last few times we've faced the All Blacks it has taken a while for us to warm up," admits Murray.

"We want to get into the game immediately. We are going to go for it from the first minute, get in their faces and welcome them to Scotland." Such bullishness contrasts sharply with the quieter side of Murray's nature and the player, who declines to turn out on Sundays due to religious beliefs, presents an almost sombre front when articulating what it means to be back in the team.

"It feels great to play for your country, to represent people who would love to be out there but who never will.

"To be playing on their behalf is very special.

"To be put against a team that is commonly talked about as being the best is even greater."

Aged 30 and with 32 caps to his name Murray feels he has become more aware of wider responsibilities as he grows older.

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"As a young player you get caught up in the excitement of a game.

"To an extent you almost lose sight of the occasion because you are concentrating on how you are doing.

"Recently I have realised there is a lot more to it .?.?. to be the one that goes out and represents millions, everybody from youngsters to the guys in the club where I started out. When you think of them it changes the way you look at the game. As a boy trying to break into the team, part of you were tempted not to support the player in your place.

"That's competitive sport. You have rivalries.

"But you do support the guy in your position even as a young pro coveting the jersey because you know it is a team sport and if the squad do well everybody does well."

Scotland will be entering the Test arena for the first time in five months causing ex-coach Jim Telfer to express concern that this could spoil their chance of a famous victory because the All Blacks have competed on successive weekends against Australia and England.

Murray ponders the point in his customary thoughtful way then says: "They will be match fit but we have played many times together since the last World Cup and know how each other plays.

"We go in with confidence and wanting to win and wanting to change the history books.

"What's more we feel we can do it."