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Scotland v South Africa Preview, Predictions & Best Bets

The Springboks will know nothing but a top-class performance will do to topple a surging Scotland side at Murrayfield on Saturda

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The Springboks will know nothing but a top-class performance will do to topple a surging Scotland side at Murrayfield on Saturday (15:00 SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

The Scots are enjoying one of their best seasons in recent history. Gregor Townsend has instilled belief in his charges, transforming them from also-rans into brave-hearts.

As a result, they scored stunning wins over England (11-6) and France (27-23) in an ultra-competitive Six Nations campaign that saw them trounce Italy (52-10) and fall just short against Wales (25-24) and Ireland (27-24).

A hit-out against Tonga two weeks ago saw them pick up where they left off, running out 60-14 winners, and as we predicted, they edged the Wallabies 15-13 last Sunday to end the men from Down Under’s five-match winning streak.

Their composure was notable, from curbing anxiety after a scrappy first quarter to staying the course and waiting for their opportunity to strike. They took both of their chances, replacement hooker Ewan Ashman scoring a wonderful try and Finn Russell slotting a penalty goal, and negotiated the final 12 minutes.

Converting crucial opportunities and closing out games have long been among Scotland’s struggles; this class have found the answers to those problems, which South Africa will have to be wary of.

The “insiders” in their camp, South African imports like Duhan van der Merwe, Kyle Steyn, Pierre Schoeman and Oli Kebble, could give them a leg up as well, particularly when it comes to calls being made upfront. They also have the invaluable insight of former Springbok assistant coach Peter de Villiers, who serves as scrum coach.

For their part, the Springboks showed their championship mettle in Cardiff last Saturday. Top teams find a way to win and they did just that to overcome Wales 23-18 after a subpar first-half showing.

Murrayfield isn’t the haunted house the Principality Stadium had been for the Springboks before they broke their eight-year hoodoo at the weekend. The men in green and gold have won the last three meetings there (and six overall), the most recent a 26-20 triumph in 2018, but you don’t simply rock up to the iconic venue and expect to get over the line.

It’s going to be a tough slog. Elton Jantjies getting a start at flyhalf is exciting and probably a bit overdue considering Handre Pollard hasn’t been at his best and the former Lions leader looks set to produce a big game based on his recent super-sub contributions.


That Australia had some success when they kept it tight will have the big and physical Springbok forwards licking their lips. They also have the superior bench in the Bomb Squad and had an extra day to recover and prepare, so Siya Kolisi and company should outlast their hosts in another hard-fought affair.

Predictions

Prediction: South Africa by 6.

Suggested Bet: Scotland +7.5 at 2.40.

Alternative Bet: South Africa by 1-12 at 2.30.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at SARugby.com and senior staff writer at Rugby365.com, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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