Erasmus urges Springboks to seize ‘big moments’ against Scotland

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South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus wants his side to make the most of their opportunities when they face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Springboks were 14 points down against France last weekend but battled back to win 29-26 thans to a try from replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi in the 85th minute in Paris.

South Africa now face another stern challenge on their European tour, given Scotland have lost just once in their last 11 home Tests — to world champions New Zealand.  

“Scotland are a well-coached side, they are difficult to break down and they will present us with a very tough challenge at Murrayfield,” said Erasmus  after unveiling his side on Thursday.

“The matches in the northern hemisphere are all closely fought encounters, with the set-piece battle key, and it’s important to grab the big moments and finish your opportunities,” added Erasmus, who saw South Africa lose by just a point in a 12-11 defeat by England a fortnight ago.

Scrum-half Embrose Papier will make his first Test start following five previous Springbok caps off the bench after Faf de de Klerk was released back to English club side Sale.

In the pack, Duane Vermeulen moves to No 8 in place of the injured Warren Whiteley, while Pieter-Steph du Toit packs down at blindside flanker, moving from lock, where he started against both England and France.

RG Snyman starts at lock, with the Springboks deciding not to rush Eben Etzebeth back from the ankle injury he sustained against England. 

“Unfortunately Eben is still not fully fit and this gives RG Snyman another great opportunity to start against one of the top rugby sides,” said Erasmus. 

“Moving Duane and Pieter-Steph around in the pack isn’t disrupting at all, as both of them are very experienced and have played for us in these positions earlier in the season.”

Scotland boss Gregor Townsend named a beefed-up side on Wednesday,making six changes to the team that thrashed Fiji 54-17 last weekend.

South Africa team to play Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday (1720 GMT kick-off):

South Africa (15-1)

Willie le Roux; Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi; Handre Pollard, Embrose Papier; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt); Franco Mostert, RG Snyman; Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Vincent Koch, Lood de Jager, Francois Louw, Ivan van Zyl, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe

Agence France-Presse

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