The Springboks take on Scotland at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday and if conditions are good then the hosts should win at a canter.
The Boks began their international season with a 34 point win over Italy and while the final margin was bigger than the bookmakers expected, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Overall though, coach Heyneke Meyer can be pleased with the way his side looked to attack at every opportunity and were it not for a greasy surface the Boks would surely have scored 50 points plus. There were plenty of strong showings on the day but it was particularly pleasing to see Morné Steyn striking the ball so well and he also got the backline away nicely. Arno Botha the latest in a long line of quality Vodacom Bulls forwards was also very impressive on debut, and while JJ Engelbrecht made a few errors he emerged from the match with credit and certainly looks one for the future. The only downside from a Bulls and South African point of view was the injury to Jano Vermaak who up until he went off had provided nippy service from the base of the scrum. Cheetahs number 9 Piet van Zyl has been called into the squad although Ruan Pienaar is likely to start on Saturday given the fact that Francois Hougaard is also nursing an injury.
Scotland lost to Samoa for the first time in their history. The Scots are missing a few players due to Lions duty and they now have a number of injury concerns ahead of the Bok test. They will need to step up to another level if they are to compete as the Samoan’s won the physical battle, and the Boks will have taken note of where to attack the Scots.
Head to Head
The last four meetings between the sides have taken place at Murrayfield and the Boks have won three and lost one. They have all been relatively low scoring affairs with the 17-21 loss in 2010 the highest scoring match. The sides last met in South Africa back in 2006 with the hosts winning the first test 36-16 in Durban and the second 29-15 in Port Elizabeth. It is perhaps surprising that in the four meetings in South Africa since the year 2000 the biggest winning margin for the Boks has been 20 points.
The Boks should win this and they will win it well. The success or failure of the outing will depend on how well they execute their game plan and it will be important to show a ruthless streak. They are too strong a side to be troubled by the visitors who are not at full strength.
Meyer may well see this as an opportunity to experiment a bit with the team but irrespective of this the Boks should win by 30 points or more (particularly if conditions are good).
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