While he is wary of the skills of Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell, Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus believes that the expected dry conditions will suit new scrumhalf Embrose Papier in Saturday’s Test at Murrayfield.
After earning his first five caps off the bench, the 21-year-old Papier will earn his first Bok start against a Scottish outfit that will look to run the South Africans off their feet.
Coach Gregor Townsend has turned Scotland into a formidable team again, especially at home, where they have won 10 out of their last 11 Tests, including wins over Ireland, Australia and England.
Their only defeat in that period came against the All Blacks, and that was also by a narrow 22-17 margin last November.
That is why Erasmus said on Thursday that Scotland are “too good a team to make too many changes” against, although there were a few enforced tweaks to the side.
Apart from Papier coming in for the unavailable Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen moved to No 8 in place of the injured Warren Whiteley, while Pieter-Steph du Toit shifts to flank, which sees RG Snyman start at No 4.
A clear evening is expected in Edinburgh on Saturday (7.20pm SA time kickoff), which Erasmus feels will aid Papier’s natural attacking style.
“I think he is ready for it,” Erasmus said about the Bulls halfback, as quoted by the BBC on Thursday.
“It looks like it will be dry, and that will suit his game really well, as will the pace Scotland play at.”
But having already said that Scotland adopt a Super Rugby style of play earlier this week, Erasmus again spoke about the multiple threats that the hosts will pose to the Boks, with flyhalf Russell at the forefront of their attack.
“Obviously he pulls all the strings and when he is on song, he is hard to contain. He certainly controls the speed of the game well,” the Bok boss said.
“But the whole team has got threats. (Tommy) Seymour is awesome, (Stuart) Hogg is awesome, Finn is playing well, the nines they have... (Jonny) Gray at lineout time... the loose forward (Hamish) Watson is great over the ball. It is a really balanced team.
“We know we are going to face well-coached, fit, energetic team that is good in their systems.
The #Springboks team for Saturday's third Test of the @CastleLagerSA Outgoing Tour, against @Scotlandteam at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh, has been named. Kick-off is at 19h20 (SA time) and the game is live on @SuperSportTV. #boksontour #loverugby pic.twitter.com/eYj64mHfal— South African Rugby (@Springboks) November 15, 2018
“They are maybe not the biggest team in the world, but what they lack in size, they make up for with intensity, speed and a great system.
“We know their record at home, smashing teams. They put 50 points on Australia, they beat England proper, they beat Argentina well on the road. We know what are in for. It is going to be a tough game.”@ashfakmohamed