Port Elizabeth - Scotland captain Grant Gilchrist will be hoping that the 14-year age gap between him and Springbok opposite number Victor Matfield will help him be a step ahead in Saturday’s Test at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Gilchrist is also a No 5 lock like Matfield, but is only 23 years old compared to the Bok skipper, who turned 37 in May.
Gilchrist is new to the Scottish set-up, as he has only seven caps. So the age difference may favour Gilchrist, but Matfield’s 112 Test caps gives him the edge in experience.
Gilchrist is 3cm taller than Matfield at 2.03m, but knows that he will come up against one of the world’s master jumpers in the lineouts today, although he is unfazed by the colossal assignment.
“Everybody knows the strength of the South African set-piece – lineout, scrum, driving maul – it’s always going to be a challenge. But those are the challenges we look forward to. We’d like to test ourselves against the best, and we believe that we have a good lineout and a good scrum, and that’s what we have to do in the game,” the Scottish leader said at the match venue yesterday.
“Generally, playing against South Africa, the number two side in the world, is exciting. I’ll be giving it my best. He’s got a few more miles in the tank than me, but yeah.
“I’m enjoying the extra responsibility (of captaincy) and testing myself. It’s been good for me because it’s helped me to become a better player. It’s about knowing what the right amount is to say, but I am not a big speaker and you must just shut up and get on with the job!”