Win crucial in Lions context

Gary Gold says an unbeaten run in the UK will provide great momentum ahead of the 2009 British & Irish Lions series.

The importance of the Scotland Test was confirmed on Tuesday when Peter de Villiers named an unchanged match 22. South Africa are looking to improve on their 20-15 victory in Cardiff and polish their performance before facing England on 22 November. Winning well at Twickenham will also send them into next season’s Lions series with a psychological edge.

The Boks should have no problems with Scotland regardless of their chosen playing style, but Gold told the significance of this fixture should not be underestimated.

“This game is not more important to Scotland than it is to us,” he said. “We always said this was going to be an important tour because we’re playing three of the four nations comprising that Lions side. So Scotland are going to come at us hammer and tongs because a lot of their players are trying to get into that team.”

Of the four home nations, Scotland should supply the fewest players. Several candidates will be facing the Boks at Murrayfield.

“Scotland may not be on form as a team, but they certainly have the individuals. Mike Blair should make the Lions tour, and I think players like Jason White, Simon Taylor and Chris Paterson will all be contenders.”

The Boks scrummed well against the Welsh in Cardiff, but Gold believes they’ll have to front up this weekend against an underrated Scotland pack.

“They were quite disruptive against the All Blacks scrum and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many scrum resets in a Test. They take pride in the forward battles and technically they’re very good at scrum time. It’s going to be a tough test in this department.”