South Africa have rotated their 2018 Murrayfield matchwinner Handre Pollard out of the team for their visit to Murrayfield at Saturday but Willie Le Roux will return.
The Springboks decision to put Pollard on the bench and start Elton Jantjies at 10 is the only thing that is less than a full-strength team available to Jacques Nienaber. The coach is certain that Scotland represent as huge a challenge as Wales did last weekend.
‘They are a formidable side to break down’
5️⃣0️⃣ up for Mostert and Kriel in Edinburgh on Saturday
🔁 Jantjies and Le Roux back in the Springbok starting side
🗣️ “We are under no illusions about the challenge ahead”
➡️ Team announcement: https://t.co/5GneDc3UQc#StrongerTogether #StrongerForever #SCOvRSA pic.twitter.com/XQPukQ0jlx
— Springboks (@Springboks) November 9, 2021
“Wales are Six Nations champions, they lost one game at the death against France, so they almost had a Grand Slam. That’s a quality team with lots of experience.
“Scotland has been the best defensive side in the northern hemisphere in 2020 and also 2021. They conceded the least tries and least points in the Six Nations.
“So they are a formidable side to break down. They don’t concede a lot of points or tries.
“That speaks volumes for Steve Tandy who after the World Cup has joined Scotland. Steve and Gregor are both British and Irish Lions coaches so they coached against us this summer. That’s the quality of Test match we will face this weekend.”
‘They can rip us apart’
Scotland are also able to play both ways, pointed out Nienaber.
“If you look at their 9, 10 and 15, they’re British & Irish Lions, very experienced players, so they’re game drivers,” he said. “They can rip us apart with their attack, they can go with a kicking game.
“When they beat England in the Six Nations I think they kicked 43 times, which is the most I’ve seen from them. I guess we will have to be awake for whatever tactic they decide to use against us.”
Le Roux’s return and Pollard’s absence was about keeping key players fresh, he said.
“When we talk about rotation we mean rotation,” he said. “We had an open discussion in front of everybody.
“If we had to play a World Cup final last Saturday we would probably have started with Willie. We thought we needed to get some game time into Damian Willemse and unfortunately he got concussed.”
‘We’re very proud of it’
“I’ve come a long way with them,” he said. “People ask us how we feel about South Africans playing for another nation, and we’re very proud of it.
“They are South African but obviously there were reasons why they decided they wanted to move on and experience international rugby with another country.
“I was very happy for Kyle (Steyn) the other day when he scored four tries against Tonga. I think it will be a nice tussle on Saturday with the South African-born players but not in a negative way.”