8 Nov 2008

Wayne Barnes to referee All Blacks' match against Scotland

7:40 am on 8 November 2008

The All Blacks will once again be refereed by Wayne Barnes, the man at the helm when New Zealand exited the World Cup in 2007.

Barnes is the referee for the All Blacks' match against Scotland on Saturday (1715 GMT, 6.15am Sunday NZT), New Zealand's opening Grand Slam encounter.

The Englishman was vilified in New Zealand after his performance in Cardiff last year when France won 20-18 in their quarter-final.

After facing Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, the All Blacks play Ireland, Wales and England on successive Saturdays. They also meet Heineken Cup winners Munster on 18 November.

The All Blacks have named a reserve team against the Scots, who have yet to beat New Zealand in 103 years.

Only fullback Isaia Toeava, flyhalf Stephen Donald and lock Ali Williams remain from last Saturday's starting lineup that defeated Australia in Hong Kong. Captain Richie McCaw and Daniel Carter will be on the bench.

Keven Mealamu, restored as first choice hooker after Andrew Hore returned home following a shin injury against Australia, will lead his country for the first time.

Bolstered by victories over England and Argentina already this year, Scotland are hopeful of completing a memorable hat-trick with a historic first rugby win over the All Blacks.

Scotland, who have recorded wins over England and Argentina this year, welcome back to highly experienced competitors.

Captain Mike Blair says the injection of former captain Jason White, and Perpignan's Nathan Hines has given the Scots an ideal blend to pull off an upset against the Tri-Nations champions.

Former Lions tourist Simon Taylor has suffered a calf strain and is doubtful. Ally Hogg, who has 45 caps, has received a call-up.