Scotland v South Africa Preview – Autumn Internationals
Finn Russell has said Scotland are targeting a world number five spot after defeating Australia last Saturday.
Scotland are seventh in the rankings and a win over current world champions South Africa this weekend would push them closer to the goal.
The fly-half said: “We want to push to get into the top five, if not higher. If we get the next couple of results that we’re looking for and go into the Six Nations we’ll be on our way up there and I believe we can. We’ve got a good belief in the squad.
“That game on Sunday was one we potentially might have lost in the past, when the narrow margins would go against us. But now we seem to have changed that.
“There’s a lot of excitement building around this team and where we’re going. We’ve been building over the last three, four, five years to get to where we are now and it feels like we’re starting to turn a corner in terms of getting wins from more of the narrow games, which is great.”
A victory over the Springboks will be a whole different challenge. Scotland last defeated South Africa in 2010, with Jacques Nienaber’s side beating the Scots on six separate occasions since then. The last time they faced one another was in 2018, when the Boks recorded a 26-20 victory.
In our Scotland v South Africa preview below, you’ll find the team news, coaches’ views and more.
What is the big Scotland v South Africa team news?
Scotland have made four changes to their team who beat Australia. Rufus McLean comes in on the wing with Matt Scott being given his first start at centre since 2017. Talismanic backs Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell remain in the line-up.
In the forwards Stuart McInally starts at hooker and Nick Haining comes in at six. Jamie Ritchie has moved to seven meaning Hamish Watson has been benched.
Meanwhile, Jacques Nienaber has made three changes to the team who narrowly beat Wales last Saturday. Full-back Willie le Roux comes in for the injured Damian Willemse. Elton Jantjies and Franco Mostert start in the new half-back pairing as the Springboks rotate their squad.
Jantjies and Jesse Kriel will both win their 50th caps with Frans Steyn setting a new South African record for the longest international career if he comes off the bench.
What have the coaches said?
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend: “We know what to expect from the Springboks in how they play and the physicality they will bring across the team.
“We have therefore selected a side that we believe can both meet that challenge and give us the platform to impose our game on the opposition. It should be a full-blooded contest and will require an intensity and focus across our 23-man squad for the full 80 minutes.
“As a playing and coaching group we took a huge amount of energy from the crowd at BT Murrayfield through their outstanding support against Australia. We can’t wait to get back out in front of our people again this weekend.”
South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber: “Scotland have a quality team with a number of experienced players and a few British & Irish Lions players, so we are under no illusions about the challenge ahead,” said Nienaber.
“They are a physical side with solid set pieces, but they also have the skills to run the ball, so we’ll have to be accurate on attack and defence.
“We laid a good foundation for the tour in Cardiff last week, and we know what areas we would like to improve on. We created opportunities to score points last week, but we didn’t convert some of them, and we also conceded several penalties, so we need to step up our discipline as well.”
What time does it kick-off and is Scotland v South Africa on TV?
The match will kick-off 1pm on Saturday 13 November at BT Murrayfield.
Referee Angus Gardner, assistants Wayne Barnes and Craig Evans and TMO Brett Cronan will take charge of the match.
Scotland v South Africa will be available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Related: Autumn Nations Series TV coverage
What are the line-ups?
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain); Rufus McLean, Chris Harris, Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, Zander Fagerson, Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist, Nick Haining, Jamie Ritchie, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Jamie Bhatti, Oli Kebble, Jamie Hodgson, Hamish Watson, George Horne, Adam Hastings, Blair Kinghorn.
South Africa: Willie le Roux; Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies; Ox Nché, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain), Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Lood de Jager, Jasper Wiese, Cobus Reinach, Handré Pollard, Frans Steyn.
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.