Boks to get out of blocks early
Boks to get out of blocks earlySHARE
South Africa simply can't afford a repeat of their 'slow' start that nearly cost them so dearly in June, when they meet Scotland on Sunday.
Veteran Springbok wing Bryan Habana admitted they 'got caught off-guard' by the Scots when the two sides met in Nelspruit in June as part of a quadrangular competition.
While the Boks eventually ran out 30-17 winners, the Scots held a 17-6 lead early in the second half, before a second-half rally – including two late scores, a Patrick Lambie penalty (74th minute) and a Jan Serfontein try (79th minute) – saw the Boks secure the victory.
"Playing them in that [quadrangular] series in June, we probably got caught off-guard a little bit by the physicality the Scots brought to the field," the 30-year-old Bok flyer said, when asked what he was expecting from the home team this time round.
"After a resounding [44-10] win [by SA] over Italy [the week before], the Scots came to prove that they were not there just to make up the numbers," the 93-Test wing added.
"Judging by their last match, they were pretty impressive in the last 20 minutes [against Japan] last weekend.
"Playing at home, in conditions that suit them, the Scots are a team we not only have to respect before the game, but respect them within that game as well."
Habana, who has never been on the losing side to Scotland, having missed the 17-21 reverse in Edinburgh in 2010 said the breakdown is going to be a big part of the game on Sunday.
"That is where the Scots had a big influence in the last Test [against the Boks] in June," he said, adding: "For us, improving each and every week is vitally important.
"We managed to get three tries to zero [in a 24-15 win against Wales] last week, but there were a lot of compartments in our game that we were not really happy with.
"One or two lucky bounces eventually saw us beat Wales.
"This weekend, having a good start is going to be pretty important."
Habana said a lot of the guys are not used to kicking off at 15.00 – with most of South Africa's home Tests starting at 17.00 and in Australasia they are always night game (19.30).
"It will be a short day, so the mental mindset and preparation going into this game will be important," the Bok wing said.
"We will be playing against a side that will not just go onto the field lie down, they will continue fighting.
"I you look back at recent results, they were all pretty close and 2010 was a loss for South Africa.
"There's a lot of pride at stake for the Scots.
"If you are not at your best and if you re not prepared to go all the way for 85 minutes you will find yourself on the wrong side of the scoreline."