Rassie to chop and change against Scotland
SPRINGBOK coach Rassie Erasmus is expected to give some of his squad members yet to feature on tour a chance against Scotland at Murrayfield this coming Saturday.
And why not? The Boks have enjoyed dominance over the Scots for some time now, having won their last five encounters.
In fact, the last time Scotland beat the Boks was in Edinburgh on November 20, 2010. They won 21-17 that day, but the Boks have been the better team in the last five meetings.
In Edinburgh in 2012 the Boks won 21-10, in Nelspruit they won 30-17 and in Edinburgh at the end of 2013 the Boks also won, 28-0.
In Port Elizabeth in June 2014 – the day current Bok flyhalf Handré Pollard made his debut – the Boks triumphed handsomely 55-6.
In the last meeting between the teams, at the World Cup on October 3, 2015, Heyneke Meyer’s team won 34-16 in Newcastle.
Several Boks who’re currently on tour in Europe with Rassie Erasmus now in charge featured that day. The starting locks were Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager, Francois Louw was at openside flank and Duane Vermeulen was at eighthman. In the backs, Pollard wore the No 10 jersey, while outside him Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel and Willie le Roux also started the game. Trevor Nyakane, Frans Malherbe and Pieter-Steph du Toit sat on the bench – and all of them could yet feature this weekend.
Erasmus, though, may opt to give some of his squad members who have yet to play on tour a chance in Edinburgh on Saturday.
Here one thinks of Nyakane, Schalk Brits, JD Schickerling, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Louis Schreuder, Ruhan Nel, Sergeal Petersen and Gio Aplon – who didn’t play against England or France.
Much though will depend on the good health and fitness of the players and assessments following yesterday’s Test before Erasmus makes a call.
Scotland, like the Boks, have enjoyed mixed results in 2018. Last weekend they lost to Wales (21-10) in Cardiff and besides playing the Boks this November also had a date with Fiji (yesterday) and play Argentina on November 24.
In June, they toured to North and South America where they faced Canada (won 48-10), the USA (lost 30-29) and Argentina (won 44-15).
In the Six Nations at the start of the year, they lost to Wales away, beat France at home, beat England at home, lost to Ireland away and beat Italy away.
Two men who some of the Bok players know well could come up against Erasmus’ team this week, namely tighthead prop WP Nel and loose-forward Josh Strauss, the former Lions captain who could go head-tohead with the man who took over from him in Joburg, Warren Whiteley.
The bearded Strauss now plays for Sale in England, which is also the home of scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, and previously played for the Glasgow Warriors. If he faces the Boks he will earn his 15th Test cap.
Also set to line up against the Boks is former Western Province centre Huw Jones, who is now a mainstay in the Scotland side. He could be up against former team-mate De Allende, too.
The Boks’ overall record against Scotland, home and away, is an impressive one. They have won 21 times in 26 Tests, with Scotland winning just five times.