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Holmes excited ahead of Boks battle

Tyrone Holmes may have been born in South Africa but he sees the opportunity to line up against the Springboks for Scotland as a dream come true.

Holmes' father, Stephen, emigrated from Scotland before he was born, but the Glasgow Warriors flanker maintains that it was the blue of Scotland and not the green of South Africa that he used to dream of playing in.

However, the 28-year-old was forthright when asked if he could have ever imagined going into battle against the Springboks this time last year - when he was playing for the Western Province.

"No, but obviously this is a great opportunity," he said. "Back in the day I used to joke with my old man about one day playing for Scotland. It has always been the ambition, part of the plan and something I have been striving towards."

Holmes, who was called up to the squad along with Adam Ashe at the weekend, is almost certain to be on the 23-man team-sheet for Saturday's Test in Port Elizabeth with Vern Cotter only having four names to choose from in the back row.

"It is my first call up to the squad and my first week with the Scotland boys, and the environment I've found has been great," he added. "It is great to be part of it. I want to use it as a learning opportunity to take in as much as I can and, if I get my chance, to do my best.

"The Springboks are always great tacticians at the breakdown and it is going to be a physical battle there.

"They are rated number two in the world so it is going to be a tough all round game and that (the breakdown) is going to be a huge aspect of the game. I aim to make a nuisance of myself and do my best to get stuck in.

"Wales did well to run them so close at the weekend (losing 31-30 after leading for most of the match), which shows that nobody is unbeatable, everyone has chinks in their armour."

Both sides are short of several leading players because the match is being played outside of the official window for Test matches and clubs in England and France have banned their players from taking part.

While that has affected Scotland more badly, it still means that the likes of Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha will be missing from the South Africa squad. Not that Holmes thinks it will weaken them much.

"Their structure and game plan will remain the same, you are never going to come up against a weak Springbok side," he said. "Maybe, there are guys who can't play but the team will be just as strong.

"We want to bring some physicality and some heat to the breakdown - all aspects of the game and if we can do that we stand a good chance."

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