Scotland should be targeting a win against the Springboks. Hopefully we will see a Scotland that are going to try beat whoever they come up against. Painfully I’ll remind the Scots of their former coach, Frank Hadden’s policy of choosing a b team to face the All Blacks. Vern Cotter is a far different coach to Hadden and the current Scottish squad is far better than Frank Hadden’s 2007 squad.
Scottish rugby is on an upward curve. Edinburgh and Glasgow have become well respected European teams. This is translating to much improved performances by the national team.
If you look at the results in the Six Nations Championship, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious improvement. The same can be said if you look at their placing or their results but the performances are far different. Scottish teams are trying to beat teams rather than trying to stop other teams beating them.
Most rugby fans would suggest that South Africa is expected to top Pool B and Scotland and Samoa will fight out who the runners up in that pool will be. This likely scenario has many factors that could affect it.
First off Scotland play two tests against the U.S.A and Japan before they play the Springboks. Both these Tests are going to be difficult but this could be a positive for Scotland. It could be the best preparation for the massive showdown with the South Africans. It could be a great build up and the Scots might be hitting their straps just in time for their encounter with the Boks.
Scotland have come into this Rugby World Cup rather covertly. Not by design , it’s just that they havn’t had anything dramatic happen in their build-up that has caused others to take notice.
South Africa will have just come off a bruising encounter against Samoa when they play their third match against Scotland. The South Africans will only have a week to lick their wounds before another tough battle against the Scots.
South Africa last lost to Scotland, a match played in Edinburgh back in 2010. South Africa’s loss on this occasion could be put down to complacency. South Africa definitely never expected such a tough match.
Worryingly from a South African fan’s point of view, there has been more talk about who they’ll meet in the quarter-finals than Scotland or Samoa or U.S.A or Japan. Most South Africans feel it’s a forgone conclusion that the Boks will beat all four of these teams. I think they can talk all they like in the build-up to the matches about respect and being prepared but I don’t feel they are this far out.( 6 days before the kick-off of RWC)
South Africa will go into the Samoa test I feel with the wrong attitude. The Samoan performance against the All Blacks in Apia in July should have sent out a warning to all rugby nations. They really challenged the Kiwi’s and took physicality to another level.I don’t think the South Africans took this seriously enough if at all.
South Africa could be entering the Scotland test already with one loss. Scotland may not want to play a backs against the wall Springbok team but if they do they could win by winning the psychological battle.
South Africa could quite easily implode. With the Springbok fans already divided on Heyneke Meyer’s leadership and coaching ability. An unexpected loss could turn ugly for Meyer and his Boks. This could quite easily unhinge some players.
The amount of coming back from injury players in the Springbok squad could backfire on them and may cause unexpected changes for the crucial Scotland Test.
Scotland will face up against the Boks in Newcastle which is very near Scotland and thousands of miles from South Africa, it could be considered a Scottish home game.
Anyone old enough to remember ‘that’ Grand Slam decider against England back in 1990 you will know just how passionate the Scots can be, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Scotland could top Pool B.