Scotland can beat the Springboks: Townsend

Gregor Townsend is hoping that Scotland’s performance against New Zealand was “a blip” and is confident that Andy Robinson’s team have the ability to defeat world champions South Africa on Saturday.

South Africa named their team for Scotland’s second Autumn International on Tuesday without wing Bryan Habana and six changes to the team that beat Wales 25-29.

“We have to be defensively sound, we have to take our opportunities, but we beat Ireland away and we’ve beaten Argentina away in our last four games,” Scotland attack coach Townsend told PA.

“The New Zealand game we’re looking at as a blip. We’re hoping the players have learned a lot from that and we know our standards can’t slip down to that level again or we’ll be beaten by a number of teams, never mind South Africa.

“But we’ve got the players and we believe we’ve got the game to win on Saturday. It’s very important for our players to get back to the way we were playing before New Zealand.

“When you play the best sides in the world you’ve really got to lay a marker down, you can’t give any chances early or they’ll take them and that’s what happened against New Zealand.

“That first 10, 15 minutes is very, very, very important on Saturday.” explained Townsend.

Scotland have only beaten South Africa four times and their last victory came in 2002 when they won 21-6 at Murrayfield.

Coach Andy Robinson will be desperate to get Scotland back to winning ways after suffering the first Test for five months and Townsend knows the size of the challenge the Springboks bring having played for the Natal Sharks and for the British and Irish Lions in 1997.

“But there will be opportunities if we work hard off the ball and we’re clinical with our execution. It’s obviously a blow for them to lose Bryan Habana at the last minute, but they put out their strongest team.

“It’s great we’re going to go up against the number two team in the world, the world champions, at full strength. They’re going to threaten us, they seem very fit. “

“They played well in the second half against Wales and took the game to Ireland right from the beginning.”

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