Venue: St James' Park, Newcastle
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
If you’d have thought that the Rugby World Cup is yet to light up then you must have really enjoyed that holiday on Mars. What excitement and what good rugby we have been blessed to view. Having been at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand I can feel the excitement and growing tension coming from England and Wales.
South Africa were a vastly improved side when they defeated Samoa after dropping the game against Japan. In fact I was very impressed with their play; adventurous, fast and powerful. ‘This side could well be the sleeping giant’ I thought to myself. Tonight we will see how close my thoughts are to reality. Without captain Jean de Villiers (broken Jaw and now retired) and veteran Victor Matfield, whose lineout presence is unmatched, the Springbok could well struggle to match that last performance.
Scotland is on top of their pool with a maximum ten points and they deserve to be there. They have played a strong second half game and will be looking to knock the South Africans out of first place contention. They will be without their new pivot Finn Russell who has the ability to set a game alight.If Japan can do it why not Scotland?
Last Five Encounters: South Africa 4, Scotland 1
28.06.2014 South Africa 55-6 in Port Elizabeth
17.11.2013 South Africa 28-0 at Murrayfield
16.06.2013 South Africa 30-17 in Nelspruit (Quadrangular Tournament)
17.11.2012 South Africa 21-10 at Murrayfield
20.11.2010 Scotland 21-17 at Murrayfield
Scotland Last Five P 5, W 4, L 1
27.09.2015 v United States W 39-16 in Leeds (World Cup, Pool B)
23.09.2015 v Japan W 45-10 in Gloucester (World Cup, Pool B)
05.09.2015 v France L 15-19 in Paris (World Cup Warm Up)
29.08.2015 v Italy W 48-7 at Murrayfield (World Cup Warm Up)
22.08.2015 v Italy W 16-12 in Turin (World Cup Warm Up)
Scotland’s record over the last five matches is very good. They pushed France in Paris pre World Cup and thrashed Italy at Murrayfield in another warm up game. A win over South Africa would not be unique. Scotland upset South Africa at Murrayfield back in 2010. It could well happen.
South Africa Last Five P 5, W 1, L 4
26.09.2015 v Samoa W 46-6 in Birmingham (World Cup, Pool B)
19.09.2015 v Japan L 32-34 in Brighton (World Cup, Pool B)
08.08.2015 v Argentina L 25-37 in Durban (Rugby Championship)
25.09.2015 v New Zealand L 20-27 in Johannesburg (Rugby Championship)
18.09.2015 v Australia L 20-24 in Brisbane (Rugby Championship)
What a dreadful year. Prior to losing to Japan South Africa went through the shortened Rugby Championship without a win including a loss to Argentina at home. The game against Samoa apart It’s not looking good.
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: Scotland 7th, South Africa 9th
World Rugby Ranking Points
South Africa 82.66, Scotland 79.05
Prediction: Scotland to defeat a limping Springbox by 4 points and cause Heineke Meyer to finally ‘pop’. Score 21-17
15 William le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende,
11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (Capt.), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Patrick Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein
Head Coach: Heineke Meyer
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Thomas Seymour, 13 Richard Vernon, 12 Peter Horne,
11 Timothy Visser, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Greig Laidlaw (Capt.), 8 David Denton,
7 Blair Cowan, 6 Joshua Strauss, 5 Jonathon Gray, 4 Richard Gray, 3 WP Nel, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid.
16 Ross Ford, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Timothy Swinson,
20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Samuel Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Sean Lamont
Head Coach: Vern Cotter
All stats from www.rugbyinternational.net