Five ex-Springboks have predicted a Bok win on Saturday against Scotland, but it’s not going to be easy.
The general consensus is a Bok win by about 10 points, but it will only come after John Smit and co have seen off a concerted Scottish effort for at least the first 40 minutes.
The players, Flyhalf Naas Botha, No 8 Gary Teichmann, centre Dick Muir, scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen and lock Mark Andrews are all more than qualified to comment having represented the Boks with great distinction in the past.
The match marks the 100th anniversary of the Springboks, whose first match under Paul Roos was against Scotland in 1906. The Boks lost that day 6-0.
Tomorrow is an entirely different matter. Here are the thoughts of those Bok greats on the game in Durban:
Naas Botha (28 Test caps). His 28 appearances at flyhalf in Tests is still a Bok record and he was a former captain: “SA must win. We can’t afford not to. No disrespect to Scotland, but if we can’t beat them in South Africa then we have problems and must worry.”
Gary Teichmann (42 Test caps). Holds the Bok records for the most consecutive Test appearances (39) and the most as captain (36): “The Scottish are going to be tough. They have come together nicely in the last year and therefore have more confidence. If we play our game right then we should win. It won’t be easy, but in the end I suspect we will win by 10-15 points.”
Dick Muir (5 Test caps). Playing against Italy, France (twice), England and Scotland, Muir was never on the losing side in a Bok jersey: “I think it will be very interesting. The match sees an unstructured team versus a structured team. The Boks should be stronger and although they are still building to the Tri-Nations and will probably not fire on all cylinders they should win by 15 points.”
Joost van der Westhuizen (89 Test caps). The World Cup-winning No 9 is the most capped Bok of all time and the leading try-scorer in Tests (38) and captained the Boks to the 1999 Rugby World Cup: “It won’t be pretty, but we will win. Considering it is the first Test, I suppose the Boks will win by a 7-10 point margin. The Scots will play a typical spoiling game and the Boks must be weary because it is their first time together.”
Mark Andrews (77 Test caps). The second most capped Bok player ever and the most Tests by a forward. He was also a World Cup winner in 1995: “Based on my past experience it will be a fight in the first half. Scotland will come hard, but we have too many big guns, especially up front. The Boks will win, but if they allow Scotland to spoil then it could be tight, if not then they will win comfortably.
By Andrew Hollely