Will Boks 'finish' Scots off?

Fri, 27 Jun 2014 07:58
Large vern cotter scotland

Scotland may be looking for some 'continuity' on their mid-year tour, but they are cautious of South Africa's fearful finishing power.

Scotland may be looking for some 'continuity' on their mid-year tour, but they are cautious of South Africa's fearful finishing power.

Only weeks after taking over the reins of the Scotland team, coach Vern Cotter downplayed the team's expectations and stressed they were looking to find some continuity when they take on the Springboks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

"We are just looking to try and build certain things in the game that will help us at later stages because we will obviously meet again at the world cup in a year's time," Cotter said.

"It is really just about getting things into place. We respect South Africa enormously but we are trying to put things together."

The New Zealander made four changes to the side which beat Argentina 21-19 in Cordoba last weekend.

Cotter sent a clear message that he was looking to increase his depth and named the 20-year-old eighthman Adam Ashe in his starting line-up. Ashe would replace Kieran Low who, along with Blair Cowan, had been released to London Irish.

Chris Fusaro came in for Cowan, while Tim Swinson would receive a starting berth in place of Jonny Gray.

In the only change to the Scottish backline, Henry Pyrgos would move into the run-on side at the expense of Grayson Hart, who shifted to the bench.

Cotter made an encouraging start to his tenure with the Scots claiming three consecutive victories over the United States, Canada and Argentina.

The last time the Scots faced the Springboks on South African soil, they gave the hosts a good fright in Nelspruit to eventually succumb to a 17-30 defeat.

They were particularly disruptive at the breakdown and would be looking to do the same at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Their return match in Murrayfield in November was a much more one-sided affair as the Springboks scored four unanswered tries for an emphatic 28-0 victory.

Cotter said last year's match in Nelspruit would be of little significance as the two sides had since locked horns.

"It isn't anything like last year, as since then we've played in November and this is our fourth game on tour.

"There are certain players unable to play just as there are certain players unable to play for South Africa," he said.

"Both teams are just looking to find cohesion and trying to string phases together and give guys an opportunity."

While the Springboks also made wholesale changes to the team that narrowly beat Wales last weekend, Cotter believed South Africa had enough depth to provide a tough contest.

"They've got talent everywhere.

"It is a very good finishing team, they are very strong from driving line-outs and they are big and physical.

"You can't just expect them to dominate you physically, they are going to move the ball at certain times and we've got to be prepared to get off the line and chase up quickly because if you give them space they are going to score tries and create breaks."