Goats, Scots both keen to win


South Africa and Scotland’s national rugby teams have been persuaded to win their first match of the Rugby World Cup this coming Sunday.

Scotland has never been able to beat South Africa in a World Cup match. The Springboks dominated at Murrayfield in 1999 with 46-29, while they also waved the scepter in 2015 with their victory of 34-16 in Newcastle.

Still, it doesn’t seem like Gregor Townsend and co. don’t really care much about the touch of statistics. The Scots play against the Springboks on Sunday in the two teams’ opening game of the World Cup tournament in Marseille.

“We are going to try not to leave South Africa alone for one moment. “For the past few weeks we have only been concentrating on being at our very best for the games leading up to the tournament,” confirmed the Scotland coach.

“Granted, a team is probably never at its best in the first match of the tournament, but we were persuaded to be successful. When we fire on all pistons, we can play competitive rugby against the world’s leading teams.”

Townsend referred to the Scots’ courageous comeback efforts against the All Blacks in Edinburgh and France in Paris to underline his point.

“There is definitely still room for improvement and we need to learn to finish off good comeback efforts with a win, but we believe that things will fall into place for us on September 10.”

Scotland match ‘like a final’

The Springboks arrived at their World Cup base in Toulon on Sunday after a ferry ride of more than ten hours. The South Africans attended a productive preparatory camp in Corsica last week.

According to Jacques Nienaber, the Goats do not want to get too far ahead of things. It is a much better approach to concentrate on one match at a time at a World Cup tournament.

“We have been preparing hard behind the scenes in Corsica for our opening game against Scotland. They are fifth in the world rankings and we know what they are capable of,” said the Springbok coach.

The heat and high humidity levels of the Mediterranean island also gave the Boks a readiness boost for the opening match in Marseille.

In addition to the Scotland duel, the South Africans will also face Ireland, Tonga and Romania in difficult Group B matches; playing well in every game is therefore crucial for the Boks’ play-off dreams.

“The match against Scotland can be compared to a final because we are in such a difficult group,” Cheslin Kolbe told AFP.

The quick-footed fullback agrees with his coach: Hard work on the training field is the key to success.

“We are the defending champion team, but that was four years ago. If we want to put on a similar show, we will have to work very hard. We want to make South Africa proud and make special memories.”