‘We can beat the Boks,’ says Townsend
SCOTLAND rugby head coach Gregor Townsend praised the players who ran in eight tries in the course of a morale-boosting 54-17 win against Fiji and said they could follow it up next weekend against a South African team who he rates as one of the top two or three sides in the world.
Scotland scored 40 unanswered points at a sell-out BT Murrayfield to rack up their biggest points tally for 11 years against the Pacific Islanders, who had led 17- 14 as half- time approached.
It helped get their Autumn internationals back on track after last week’s defeat to Wales but Townsend is in no doubt they will have to be better still on Saturday against a Springboks side who beat France 29-26 last night and will represent a huge step up in class. However, he says this Scotland squad have already proved they can compete with the top teams.
“The atmosphere in the ground again was fantastic,” said a delighted Townsend. “To get eight tries and have the players feel that atmosphere was behind them is a huge boost going into next week.
“But the players are very aware that next week is a huge step up. South Africa, you could argue, are in the best two or three teams in the world given their recent form. They’ve beaten New Zealand once and could have done it a second time.
“They have a huge pack, one that caused England a lot of problems last week. We believe they are playing a level of rugby that is rival to the best teams in the world right now.
“But I believe in this group of players. They have risen to the challenge before against the best teams in the world. We know it will be a tough test.
“Last year we played Australia, New Zealand and England and played our best games of the season. That is what we have to do to beat South Africa but I believe we have that performance in us.”