Boks out to continue winning feeling against Scots
November 16, 2012
Tim Visser grabbed a brace of scores against the All Blacks last weekend © Getty Images
Andy Robinson's Scotland side will hope to push on from their valiant showing against the All Blacks last weekend when they come face to face with another southern hemisphere giant at Murrayfield on Saturday.
It has been a baptism of fire for Robinson's charges, playing the best side in the world on the first weekend of November Test action and then tackling the second best the following weekend. But they will have taken heart from their performance against the All Blacks where they crossed for three tries. While they will have been pleased with their trio of scores, their defence let them down as the Kiwis ran in 51 points to take the game 51-22.
And Scotland will go into this weekend's game with one eye on the IRB rankings ahead of December's draw for the 2015 World Cup. They currently sit in ninth but a win on Saturday will take them up to eighth, usurping Ireland in the process, which, if it stays that way after the last ball is passed or kicked in the autumn Tests, would be enough to secure them a spot in the second batch of seeds.
The Boks are nicely positioned in second in the rankings but they will have one eye on the result from Twickenham with Australia facing England. If Australia win and South Africa lose, then the Wallabies will move up to second in the Boks' place.
But the Boks already have one northern hemisphere scalp to their name after they downed Ireland 16-12 last weekend in the Aviva Stadium. The Irish were 12-3 up at half-time but in the second-half, South Africa scored 13 unanswered points, with Ruan Pienaar's try helping them along their way, to take the match.
Scotland - Player to Watch: Tim Visser bagged two tries against the All Blacks last weekend to further his reputation as one of the best finishers in northern hemisphere rugby. His incredible scoring record on the domestic scene for Edinburgh seems to be transferring to the international stage - Lions coach Warren Gatland will surely be keeping a close eye on the Dutch-born flyer.
Scotland - Team News: Robinson has made three changes to the Scotland line-up with Euan Murray and David Denton both starting. Denton comes into the side in place of the injured Ross Rennie while Murray, who missed Sunday's match due to religious beliefs, replaces Geoff Cross who moves to the bench. Kelly Brown skippers the side and was originally pencilled in at openside but he has shifted to blindside following Alasdair Strokosch's late withdrawal. John Barclay steps into the back-row at openside with Denton getting the nod at No.8. On the bench, Dougie Hall is preferred to Scott Lawson while Cross replaces Allan Jacobsen. Peter Murchie could make his debut from the replacements after getting the nod over Max Evans. And Stuart McInally could also get his first taste of Test rugby after profiting from Barclay's promotion to the XV.
South Africa - Player to Watch: Juan de Jongh is highly rated in South African circles and gets the nod at outside centre. There are doubts surrounding his size, with some critics deeming him to be too small, but Scotland will have to keep a close eye on him.
South Africa - Team News: Boks coach Heyneke Meyer has opted to make two changes to the Springboks side with Gurthro Steenkamp starting at loose-head and De Jongh getting the nod at outside centre. Steenkamp comes into the side for CJ van der Linde while De Jongh starts ahead of Jaco Taute.
Adriaan Strauss will bring a physical presence to the Boks' front-row © Getty Images
Key Battle: Ross Ford endured a mixed performance against the Kiwis and he will come up against the formidable bulk of Adriaan Strauss at hooker. Ford will have to re-find his accuracy against an efficient Boks set piece and also match Strauss in the scrum - it should be a fascinating match up.
Trivia: Scotland have five players remaining in their XV from the one that beat the Boks the last time the two teams came face-to-face. Sean Lamont, Ross Ford, Euan Murray, Richie Gray and Kelly Brown are the quintet.
Stats: A try for JP Pietersen against Scotland would see the wing overtake the legendary Chester Williams's 14 tries for South Africa. Bryan Habana remains his country's most prolific try scorer with 47.
"They are prepared to run right over you . . . through you. They have an incredible maul, probably the best maul in world rugby." - Scotland coach Andy Robinson on the threat the Boks pose
"We saw the match between Scotland and New Zealand and that the Scots scored three tries against the All Blacks - which is more than any other team has managed against them this year." - Boks coach Heyneke Meyer
Prediction: Scotland will put in another valiant performance but it will be the Springboks who come away with the victory
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