Rassie to chop and change against Scot­land

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - JAC­QUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN jac­ques.vd­west­huyzen@inl.co.za

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.

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