Townsend: Beating Boks would be bigger than beating England

2018-11-15 07:33
Gregor Townsend (AFP)

Edinburgh - Scotland coach Gregor Townsend regards beating South Africa on Saturday at Murrayfield would be a bigger achievement than beating England this year.

Scotland hadn't beaten England in a decade when they pulled off an impressive win in February in the Six Nations.

The Scots haven't toppled the Springboks since 2010.

Asked where a victory this weekend would rank in his 18 months in charge so far, Townsend said on Wednesday: "Given what South Africa have done recently, it would probably be our biggest win in the last couple of years.

"England stands out as such a memorable win. The fact they had won so many games in succession and that trophy we play for makes it even more special. But I just feel that South Africa are in the top two or three teams in the world with the way they play against the best teams in the world.

"Going to New Zealand and beating them, almost beating them a second time, showing what they were capable of last week against France as they came from behind to get a great win, that all shows they are going to be a tough team to beat."

He expects an attritional Test against South Africa.

"It's the No 1 physical challenge," he said. "We get physical challenges in the Six Nations with the likes of England and France and Ireland but any coach will tell you that the biggest physical challenge is South Africa. It always has been.

"They have evolved their game since Rassie Erasmus took over but they've not gone away from the forward pack. They select the biggest and strongest men they can find."

After beating Fiji 54-17 last weekend, Townsend made six changes, five in his pack. Prop Gordon Reid, hooker Stuart McInally, locks Jonny Gray and Ben Toolis, and flanker Hamish Watson were back. Sam Skinner starts on the blindside flank where he finished the Fiji Test, having made his debut at lock.

Huw Jones was trusted with a recall at centre despite a couple of defensive slips in Cardiff against Wales.

Only prop WP Nel, loose forward Ryan Wilson and wing Tommy Seymour, who scored a hat-trick of tries against Fiji, are starting a third consecutive Test this month.



15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Sam Skinner 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Gordon Reid

Substitutes: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Josh Strauss, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Ali Price, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Chris Harris.

South Africa


Read more on:    springboks  |  scotland  |  gregor townsend  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 21 September 2019
New Zealand v South Africa, Yokohama International Stadium 11:45
Saturday, 28 September 2019
South Africa v Namibia, City of Toyota Stadium 11:45
Friday, 04 October 2019
South Africa v Italy, Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA 11:45
Tuesday, 08 October 2019
South Africa v TBC, NOEVIR Stadium Kobe 12:15
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Following the conclusion of the various end of year tours to Europe, who is your favourite for the 2019 Rugby World Cup title?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.