Scots plan to 'outmuscle' Boks
PRE-MATCH INTERVIEW: Scotland faces an acid test against South Africa at Murrayfield this weekend.
However, captain Stuart Hogg said the Springboks had “weaknesses” having already played against the World Cup winners twice this year.
The Scots go into Saturday’s game buoyed by last week’s 15-13 win over Australia.
“They are an unbelievable team, they have got some brilliant individual players and they are world champions for a reason,” Hogg told reporters.
“But like everything, there are weaknesses within it and hopefully we can exploit that.
“We need to be patient in what we are trying to do and also stand up to their physicality. If we can stand up to that and outmuscle them we give ourselves a good opportunity of winning.”
South Africa has become familiar opponents for Hogg in 2021, the fullback featuring in the first two Tests for the British and Irish Lions in July only to be left out of the series decider, which the Springboks won 19-16.
Hogg was surrounded by several Scotland players in the Lions squad, with Dark Blues boss Gregor Townsend an assistant to the tourists’ head coach, Warren Gatland.
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But whether all that inside knowledge helps Scotland end a run of six straight defeats by South Africa dating back to 2010 remains to be seen.
“It’s very difficult, as we saw in mid-year, they’ve got a game-plan unique to themselves,” said 29-year-old Hogg.
“And they’ve had it forever, it works incredibly well for them.”
Part of that plan involves repeatedly testing the opposition fullback and wings with soaring kicks.
“As a back three and defending the backfield we’re going to find ourselves under high balls, and that’s something we’ve worked hard on all week and I’m looking forward to,” said Hogg.
A veteran of 88 Tests, Hogg was also braced for a tough contest up front.
“They are very, very physical,” he added. “They have jackal [turnover] threats all over their team.
“So in terms of our attacking breakdown, we need to be squeaky clean and make sure we can blast past the contact and keep that ball safe.
“If we continue to do that for multi-phases, then that’s the time that we will most challenge South Africa.”
South Africa beat Wales 23-18 last week in the opening match of a tour of Britain that concludes with a November 20 clash against England, a repeat of the 2019 World Cup Final.
But the narrow win over the Wallabies has emboldened Scotland to think of a clean sweep in an end-of-year campaign they started with a 60-14 rout of Tonga and finish next week against Japan, their World Cup conquerors.
“Straight after that [Australia] game we talked about the job only being half done,” said Hogg.
“We’d won two games and still had two to go.”