Papier finally 'ready' for the big stage
NOVEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said he is confident Embrose Papier will be able to handle the pressure in Saturday’s Test against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Papier will make his first Test start for South Africa on Saturday after being a permanent fixture on the bench this season. The 21-year-old scrumhalf has also often been an unused replacement in matches for the Boks this season.
“It’s his first start,” Erasmus told reporters in Murrayfield ahead of Saturday’s Test. “A few weeks back it was Ivan’s [van Zyl] second start, so I think we are blooding the guys nicely.
“We are trying not to group three or four first cappers together. We don’t want to have Damian Willemse and Embrose in big games all having first caps. I think we have been really spreading it out well.
“I think he [Papier] is ready for it. Hopefully, it’s dry because it suits his game really well and with Scotland’s pace, it is something that will suit him.”
Meanwhile, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said he is delighted for the young scrumhalf.
“He will have some very cool and experienced heads around him, such as Duane Vermeulen at No.8 and Handré Pollard at flyhalf,” said Kolisi.
“I think he has done really well for us when he came on off the bench – he is a different kind of player, a running nine, and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
In both of their previous two tour matches, against England and France, the South Africans finished strongly. Kolisi said he would like to see another good performance from the Boks against a formidable Scottish side that boast 10 wins from their last 11 home Tests.
“The coaching team, and especially Aled (Walters, Head of Athletic Performance) prepare us well, and coach Rassie wants to make sure that we are physically and mentally ready for the game he wants us to play.
“His knowledge of coaching up here in the Northern Hemisphere [with Munster] also helps a lot,” he added.