Rugby: Vernon targets epic victory over New Zealand

Former Stewart's Melville forward Richie Vernon today insisted an epic Scotland rugby victory over Australia 12 months ago can only be surpassed by making history against New Zealand at Murrayfield on Saturday.

• Richie Vernon

He said: "The feeling I had on the pitch at the final whistle against Australia will live with me for the rest of my life - the nervousness of the crowd hoping we'd hold on, the noise, the relief at Matt Giteau's last-gasp conversion miss, the jubilation - it's my abiding memory of Murrayfield. But, beating New Zealand would top even that and by a long way."

Vernon, who will win his fourth cap but will start for the first time, at No.?8, added: "Scotland have never beaten New Zealand and they are No.?1 in the world.

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"I grew up going along to watch the All Blacks with Jonah Lomu and, even when they weren't winning World Cups, I still rated them the best and, in many ways, they still are."

Meanwhile, Scots coach Andy Robinson, who appears to have gambled by omitting star goalkicker Chris Paterson from his entire match-day squad, is upbeat, saying: "I am very confident in the team and how we approach the game. It is important we are able to keep the scoreboard ticking.

"If we win by kicking seven or eight penalties because New Zealand keep giving penalties away I'll take that."

Mike Blair captains a side that contains two other Edinburgh players in Allan Jacobsen and Ross Ford among the starting line-up with Ross Rennie on the bench, and Robinson adds: "The game is about putting the opposition under pressure.

"Yes, we want to go out and score tries. Yes, we will be looking to ask questions of the opposition in that way but the main thing about winning tests is points accumulation."