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New Zealand v Scotland Preview

Adam Blair says New Zealand’s senior players have no interest in being rested when they face Scotland in Workington on Friday.

Australia head coach Mal Meninga left out several of his key players in their 54-12 win over the Scots while England coach Wayne Bennett also rotated his squad against Steve McCormack’s side last weekend.

Following their 14-8 defeat to Australia last Saturday, New Zealand must beat the Bravehearts to keep their hopes of making the final at Anfield alive.

Points difference could also be a factor following this weekend’s final round-robin fixtures with victories for New Zealand and England putting them level on four points with Australia.

Brisbane prop Blair however insists the focus on Friday is to simply win and would be disappointed if any of his teammates wanted to be rested.

“We’ve got to go out there and win the game first and foremost,” said Blair.

“We can’t go into the game thinking we have to score a certain amount of points. We’ve got to win and hope that everything else falls into place.

“It’s another test match and I won’t be putting my hand up to be rested and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to be.

“It’s a massive test match and we need to win it. Any time you get the opportunity to play for your country you’re not going to say no.

“We will be looking to put our best foot forward to get an opportunity to play in the final.”

Meanwhile tournament underdogs Scotland head into the game with confidence following a positive display against England.

Despite slipping to a 38-12 defeat, the Bravehearts were 8-0 ahead after 27 minutes and caused England plenty of problems.

Captain Danny Brough is relishing the opportunity of playing Four Nations holders New Zealand and in particular facing their forward line.

“Have you seen the size of them?” joked Brough.

“It’s going to be a massive challenge. They’re a quality side and might rest a few players.

“We’re looking forward to it. We’re underdogs and no-one expects us to win.

“Against Australia we were disappointed. We were like rabbits in the headlights and let ourselves down in the first half an hour but second half we caused them a few problems.

“The lads rose to the occasion against England and we had a dig. We let ourselves down in the second half but it was a big improvement so there are plenty of positives to take from the game.”

The game sees Scotland play their fourth game at Workington in three years following World Cup games against Tonga and Italy in 2013 and a 42-18 win over Wales a year later.

Head coach Steve McCormack says Derwent Park has served his side well in recent years and hopes more international fixtures will be staged in Cumbria in the future.

“Workington has been good for us,” explained McCormack.

“The more games the sport takes of this sort of magnitude to Cumbria the better.

“Workington is a proper Rugby League area and the Cumbrians will come out and support the game.

“In the World Cup it was always good to us and we got packed houses for our games there. It would have been fantastic to have had a game in Scotland but west Cumbria is a great venue as well.”

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