Share

Rugby World Cup: Cowan ready to rise to Springbok challenge for Scotland

Cotter is likely to be forced to do without influential playmaker Finn Russell for Saturday’s match, with the stand-off still hobbling about on crutches after injuring his ankle in Sunday’s win over the US.

Advertisement

That was when Japan pulled off a miracle victory in Brighton, a humiliation from which South Africa look to have responded.

Scotland top the table by three points from the Springboks, who bounced back from losing 34-32 to Japan by hammering Samoa 46-6 last Saturday.

Weir, though, is not anxious about being thrust into the limelight despite only having played 20 minutes of the tournament so far.

I will be disappointed if we don’t do ourselves justice against South Africa, whose breakdown coach is of course another well-known Borderer, Richie Gray (the Gala one!). I think about what I can control.

I always thought he would be a rugby genius and he is. “The tartan is a strong part of that, so I think it’s brilliant that it’s on the kit”.

“For me, it’s about doing my job really well, making sure I boss the team and (am) really vocal in attack”. If you’ve got questions, spotted an inaccuracy or just want to share a few ideas about our news service, please email us on [email protected] I don’t need to prove myself.

For the second week running Cotter has announced ten changes to the starting line-up, however there is a familiar feel to the squad, with just four players set for their first outing in the 2015 tournament.

RUGBY fever is sweeping the region as the North-East prepares to host the first of three World Cup games this weekend.

Experienced Springbok wing Pietersen scored a hat-trick against Samoa and I’d back him to get the ball rolling – he’s priced at 8/1 to score the first try with Sportingbet.

Closer examination reveals a trend to almost all the changes – each represents a significant physical upgrade. He’ll also, one imagines, be relishing a contest against the land of his birth this week.

Back then his only focus – as with WP Nel, the chunky Northern Cape tighthead who lines up in dark blue on Saturday afternoon – was trying to work his way into his national side.

Hardie has been replaced on the openside flank by fellow New Zealand-born player Blair Cowan. While Bennett has been Scotland’s star of the competition so far, Vernon will add might to the midfield in anticipation of the looming gain-line battle with the Boks.

With Gilchrist out, Richie and Jonny Gray pack down in the second row – the seventh time the brothers have started together for Scotland. Take the Ireland game out – they were chasing a championship, so it was a bit different – and we lost the games by an average of six points.

“These players will be giving 100 per cent of themselves and they will be competitive”.

Scotland’s team selection against South Africa has met with a mixed reaction.

Advertisement

The weight of experience lies with South Africa who have a 4-0 record against Scotland since the last World Cup and field a side with more than twice as many caps as the 330 mustered by Scotland.

Du Plessis needs to lift game to help Boks beat Scotland