Springboks can be beaten, says Scottish skipper Brown
EDINBURGH (AFP) –
Scotland have the game to once again sink South Africa in Saturday’s Test match at Murrayfield, but they must first shore up their defensive forces, skipper Kelly Brown believes.
Andy Robinson’s men kicked off the November north-south international face-offs by taking a 51-22 drubbing at the hands of world champions New Zealand in Edinburgh last weekend.
But they did manage to score three tries, the first team to do so against the All Blacks this year, and, failing to get over the line has been an area which has been the undoing of the Scots recently, leading to an early World Cup exit in New Zealand and a Six Nations wooden spoon.
On the down side, the Scottish defensive lines were far too easily breached by New Zealand’s array of running talents and that is something that Robinson will be keen to tighten up.
Skipper Kelly Brown, who moves over to replace the injured Ross Rennie at flanker, with David Denton coming in at No 8 as one of two team changes made by Robinson, believes a repeat of Scotland’s shock 21-17 win the last time the teams met in the corresponding fixture here two years ago is on the cards.
“There’s no doubt it’s possible,” the 30-year-old said. “We know what happened two years ago but in saying that, so do South Africa.
“So they will be looking for a bit of payback and it’s up to us to make sure we really nail the level of performance that we need to to be successful.
“It was a great win, on that day I think it was based on a really solid defensive effort. We will need to make sure that we are really tight in that aspect of the game and make them work for anything that they get, and when we’re on the attack we need to ask them questions and put them under pressure.”
“There is no doubt there is improvement to be made. We have looked at the video and we know the areas that we need to work on. We have been doing that in training and I’m very confident we can put it right on Saturday.”
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer has also made two changes to his line-up from the side that came from behind last weekend to edge Ireland 16-12 in Dublin.
Toulouse prop Gurthro Steenkamp takes over from CJ van der Linde, while Juan de Jongh gets his first start at centre since the 40-7 Tri-Nations loss to New Zealand in Wellington last year.
Meyer has said that while avoiding another loss to Scotland was important, he very much also had on his mind his players getting used to the kind of damp, heavy conditions they can expect to encounter in 2015 when England hosts the next World Cup.
“Here every single facet of play is an unbelievable battle,” he said.
“These guys scrum for penalties, it’s not just the start of the game.
“One big difference is the breakdown. I think Scotland are superb at the breakdown, if you just look at what happened against New Zealand.
“It’s more fierce, it’s more a battle and more physical, I believe, because it’s a little bit slower and you need a different type of player.
“With the World Cup being here the more we can play here the better.”
An additional incentive for Scotland is that a win over South Africa would vault them past Ireland into eighth place in the world rankings, leaving them in the second band of four teams for the 2015 World Cup draw on December 3.
Saturday’s Test will be the 22nd between South Africa and Scotland since they first met in 1906. Of these, the Boks have won 16 and lost five, which includes the last time they played in 2010.