Barclay: Don’t believe the hype surrounding the All Blacks

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Scotland skipper John Barclay will be doing his utmost to ignore the hype surrounding New Zealand this week.

The All Blacks travel to Edinburgh to face Scotland at BT Murrayfield on Saturday, three years since the two sides last met.

Steve Hansen’s two-time reigning World Cup winners have dominated the sport for the last decade and it will be a daunting test for Gregor Townsend’s side after conceding five tries in a thrilling 44-38 win over Samoa on Saturday.

However captain Barclay, who lasted an hour of the win, is keen for his team-mates not to get caught up in the hype surrounding the All Blacks and insisted the game takes on no extra significance.

“It’s inspiring to play at Murrayfield,” he said. “There’s probably something wrong if you need to take inspiration from the opposition.

“If we sit back and are in awe and are inspired, then there’s something quite drastically wrong with our mindset.

“We need to focus on ourselves as much as we can and try to impose ourselves.”

He added: “There are a lot of questions about the All Blacks, but for me it’s about the honour of playing and captaining my country, and what that means to me.

“Yes we have to do a bit of homework, but if we sit back and talk about them and how fantastic they are, we have no chance.”

History will certainly be against Scotland on Saturday evening as they attempt to break their long-standing duck against the southern hemisphere side.

The Dark Blues are yet to register a win against the All Blacks in over 100 years of fixtures, drawing just twice and losing the other 28 times.

However Barclay brushed off talk of it playing on the minds of players, claiming history will have no relevance when the two sides take to the pitch.

“It would be no use talking about that,” the Scarlets back-row said. “It’s one of them stats isn’t it? We’ve certainly not mentioned it.

“It doesn’t bother me. It is what it is. It’s a stat and it will still be a stat one minute before kick-off at the weekend.

“We still have 80 minutes of rugby to play. It’s a huge challenge but a very exciting one for us to try and change.”

However there is some cause for optimism among fans, with the skipper saying: “We have had some good victories in the last 12 to 18 months and this weekend will be very hard; they don’t lose many games but they have lost a few in the past 12 months.

“For us, we have to play well, we can’t just sit back and watch them, we have to go and play with an intent, be aggressive and try to impose ourselves on them.”

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