THE Springboks may enter Saturday’s Test against Scotland in Edinburgh as overwhelming favourites on form, but coach Heyneke Meyer is not taking anything for granted after the Boks’ 21-17 defeat at Murrayfield in 2010.
Despite the odds being stacked heavily against Scotland to win that Test in 2010, the home team produced a stunning display to outplay the visitors.
That result will undoubtedly inspire Andy Robinson’s men going into Saturday’s clash, while it will serve as a harsh reminder to the Boks of the consequences of writing off a team before a ball is kicked.
Fortunately for Bok captain Jean de Villiers and his charges, they boast a handful of players in the match 23 who are familiar with the European weather and some of the Scottish players, which should give them a good idea of what to expect.
The main focus in the Bok camp this week, however, was to raise their standard of play after ill-discipline and unforced errors left them trailing Ireland 12-3 at the break in Dublin last week.
A victory for the Boks would not only set them in good stead for the final Test on their European Tour against England at Twickenham next Saturday, it would also restore some of the faith in Meyer and his troops following a disappointing Rugby Championship campaign.
Looking ahead, Meyer is wary of the threat Scotland pose and expects a challenging encounter.
"Our focus has been on improving from our performance against Ireland last week," Meyer said.
"We saw the match between Scotland and New Zealand (New Zealand won 51-22) and the Scots scored three tries against them, which is more than any other team has managed against them this year," he said, adding that Scotland would not be an easy opponent.
"But we also brushed off some cobwebs in Dublin and we’ve had a good week on the training field. We lost on our last visit to Edinburgh and we realise Saturday will be a massive battle, but it’s one we are looking forward to."
Meyer singled out Scotland’s ability to string together phases and apply pressure as their main strengths. "I really do think the Scots are a quality side," he said.
"There was about 10 minutes of sheer brilliance from the All Blacks in their match last Sunday, but otherwise Scotland were very competitive. They impressed me with their ability to carry the ball and they scored three tries, which neither us nor Australia have come close to managing this year… it’s going to be important for us to stay focused this week and to be sharp on match day."
Robinson spoke equally highly of the Boks and singled out matching their physicality as one of the keys to creating an upset.
"We know we’re in for a bruising battle against South Africa this weekend and we will be primed for that physical confrontation," Robinson said.
"But we also have to be smart in how we approach this game and do our utmost to ensure we get on the front foot and get the result that will move us into the top eight in the International Rugby Board world rankings ahead of next month’s 2015 Rugby World Cup draw."