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24 Aug 2007 10:39
Scotland coach Frank Hadden has told his World Cup aspirants to prepare for the most physically taxing match of their careers when they square up to the Springboks at Murrayfield on Saturday in the final tournament warm-up outing for both sides.
The encounter is billed as a “friendly”, however Hadden laughed off the notion that the teams would merely be going through the motions.
“The Boks will come to Edinburgh with exactly the same ruthless attitude they have possessed for the last 100 years,” he stressed.
“I expect it to be an absolute belter of a game—a full-blooded Test match.
“It will be rugby in the raw. The tag South Africa sparks three particular words in my mind: powerful, passionate and confrontation.
“Their approach will be no different from usual, and that means they will play the way they have done for the past 100 years.
It will be confrontation plus incredible pace.
“That is why it is important that we cut down our error-count and be prepared to take them on and get into their faces early on.
“The South Africans perform with relentless aggression—a quality that has caught out Scotland in the past.
“We won’t give the Springboks too much respect as we did in the last two matches against them, just over a year ago on their turf.
“I would like to see us build on our performance in the second Test in Port Elizabeth when we competed so well in the later stages.”
Hadden added: “This weekend is about generating momentum for the World Cup. I expect the guys to build on the Irish success to show they are in very good shape.
The coach was backed up by skipper Jason White, who stated: “Personally, I just can’t wait to answer the challenge and I know that my squad are prepared to tackle them head-on.
“They are naturally bigger men than us. However, our pre-season work has made us more powerful and that should even things out a bit.
“We out powered Ireland, so I am confident while also being realistic!
“It is good for us to have such a hard game to finish our build-up and it will certainly help us prepare for our World Cup clash with New Zealand.
“I am sure that we can do a really good job and that if we perform to our absolute potential, we are capable of winning.
“We respect South Africa—but we certainly don’t fear them.”
White added: “A positive result would generate momentum at an important time and there is no doubt the public would get right behind us.
“The line-out scrap will be crucial because in that department the Boks are extremely good defensively and that will make it very tough for us.
“Unlike the Ireland game, homework will come into play and they will have had a good look at us.”
South Africa had a less than convincing victory over Connacht on Tuesday, but White and his side won’t be reading much into that result.
He explained: “I have only seen a few bits so far and it was a tricky fixture for them.
“On one hand, the players will have been wanting to impress their coach, but on the other they will have been desperate to stay in one piece.
“I fully expect them to employ all their big guns against us on Saturday in what will be a full-blooded and full-on international.”—Sapa-AFP
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