Scotland

Preview: South Africa v Scotland

Fri, 14 Jun 2013 07:07
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It's hard to see where Scotland can win

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In keeping with the modern trend neither side will be a full, first-choice side when South Africa face Scotland in Nelspruit on Saturday - Round Two of this four-nations tortournament.

Both teams have injuries and South Africa have a player trying to fit in getting married in the midst of year-long rugby commitments.

Scotland have their best players with the B&I Lions and have injuries amongst the rest.

As a result three Scots will be making their Test debuts against the Springboks in warm Nelspruit on Saturday - Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour and Tim Swinson.

Not that the Springboks are jam-packed with experience, not with Willie le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht and Arno Botha starting and Trevor Nyakane and Jan Serfontein on the bench along with two uncapped players - Piet van Zyl and ardent Siya Kolisi from Zwide Township.

It's hard to see where Scotland can win.

They just do not have the game-changers that the Springboks have, not when their most impressive back is likely to be Sean Lamont, a wing with the body and soul of a flank.

And their pack is workmanlike, though workmanlike enough to test the Springbok pack, especially with their wonky scrummaging and the Scots' three loose forwards may well prove a handful for the Springbok flanks.

It is true the Scots came third in the Six Nations, but it was through grit and other people's efforts that got them there, rather than true class of their own.

And the true class is not with them on this safari

They are likely to be able to make life uncomfortable for the Springboks on occasion but one can just not see them matching the Springboks for skill, points-scoring ability and above all speed.

It's hard to see them coping with Bryan Habana, Bjorn Basson, JJ Engelbrecht and creative, unpredictable Willie le Roux.

Le Roux's presence in the Test against Italy last Saturday and his performance on the field was indicative of a new-found free spirit in Springbok rugby that scored four exhilarating tries by the Springbok backs against Italy, who were nearer to having a first-choice side than Scotland are.

Goal-kicking is always important, and both Morné Steyn and Greig Laidlaw kick well at goal.

In a late change to the Scottish side, Fraser Brown has been called into the matchday-22 in place of the injured Steve Lawrie.

Players to Watch:

For South Africa: The Springbok speedsters - Habana, Basson, Engelbrecht and Le Roux who produces a frisson of excitement every time the ball moves towards him. And in the pack there are Arno Botha and Eben Etzebeth. It will also be interesting to see if Bismarck du Plessis gets on the field. South Africa is blessed with two of the very best hookers in world rugby. In fact the Springbok bench will be adorned with lots of talent.

For Scotland: The most obvious players could be Laidlaw, Johnnie Beattie, aggressive Jim Hamilton and sturdy Euan Murray.

Head to Head: Scrumhalves always have a keen competition and these two should know each other well from club competitions - lively Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh and Scotland) and stately Ruan Pienaar (Ulster and South Africa). Big (2,03m and 124kg), aging (31) Jim Hamilton against big (2,03m and 123kg), young (21) Eben Etzebeth of South Africa. And then the battle of the front rows - Alasdair Dickinson, Scott Lawson and Euan Murray against Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss and Jannie du Plessis with the Springboks having the better support from the bench.

Recent results:
2012: South Africa won 21-10, Edinburgh
2010: Scotland won 21-17, Edinburgh
2008: South Africa won 14-10, Edinburgh
2007: South Africa won 27-3, Edinburgh
2006: South Africa won 29-15, Port Elizabeth
2006: South Africa won 36-16, Durban
2004: South Africa won 45-10, Edinburgh
2003: South Africa won 28-19, Johannesburg
2003: South Africa won 29-25, Durban
2002: Scotland won 21-6, Edinburgh

Prediction: Examining the two teams individually and in units and then as teams, you would really believe that the Springboks would win and do so by 25 points or more. But you never know - maybe the Scots will find more satisfaction in Nelspruit than just the beauty of the Lowveld and its wild life.

Teams

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.

Scotland: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Ryan Wilson, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Moray Low, 19 Alastair Kellock, 20 David Denton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Duncan Taylor.

Date: Saturday, June 15
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 GMT; 16.15 UK time)
Expected weather: Sunny with a high of 23°C , dropping to 10°C
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzère (France), Nigel Hennessy (Wales)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

By Paul Dobson

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