South Africa have to beat Scotland next Saturday if they are not to go home with their tails between their legs said Springboks hooker Schalk Brits on Monday.
The 34-year-old — who plays his club rugby for English Premiership club Saracens — added he and his team-mates were ready to make their rugby-mad compatriots proud of them in the Pool B clash in Newcastle.
In doing so they would restore some of the pride they lost when Japan inflicted the greatest upset in World Cup history on them with a 34-32 triumph in Brighton over a week ago.
The Scots top the pool with a maximum 10 points, three clear of the ‘Boks — who got back on track with a 46-6 demolition of the Samoans on Saturday — and both Samoa and Japan on four points with two games remaining.
Tailenders United States are pointless.
“For us it’s our final. If we lose this we’re out,” said Brits.
“We are in this position and we’re ready to fight and make our country proud.”
Brits, who would have won more caps but for opting to move to Saracens in 2009, professed himself to be a fan of how the Scots played rugby thanks to the new style imposed by coach Vern Cotter.
“I actually like watching them, for the first time,” said Brits.
“The way (coach) Vern (Cotter) wants to play, he plays with discipline but he gives the players freedom to play.”
“Not just from a national point of view but from a club point of view they’re playing some very good rugby.
“Their domestic sides are doing better. For me it’s great to see Scotland being strong. It makes the game (of rugby) better for all of us.”
Brits said Cotter, who has followed the example of his one-time protege Joe Schmidt with the Irish side and restored morale to the bedraggled outfit he took over last year, was teaching the Scots to play New Zealand style rugby, though, obviously that took time to sink in.
“Without a doubt (in bringing a New Zealand style to their play). He’s got one or two Kiwis playing there anyway,” said Brits.
“And the way he coached at Clermont as well, you can see that pattern moving from Clermont to Scotland.
“Always it will take a while to change game patterns and he had to change certain players to play his style or rugby. It’s paying off at the right time for him.” – Agence France-Presse