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De Villiers wary of Scotland


Jean De Villiers will lead out South Africa against Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday

Jean De Villiers will lead out South Africa against Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday

Jean De Villiers will lead out South Africa against Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday

South Africa captain Jean de Villiers insists the Springboks will not underestimate Scotland on Sunday like they did during the summer.

The southern hemisphere giants take on the Dark Blues at Murrayfield with memories of their 30-17 victory in Nelspruit last June still fresh in the mind.

The match was the second of a quadrangular tournament the Springboks were hosting and came after Scott Johnson's Scotland side had crashed to a shock opening defeat against Samoa.

However, Scotland raced to a 17-6 lead early in the second half and only surrendered control when forward Jim Hamilton was sin-binned after a needless tussle with Eben Etzebeth.

But centre de Villiers insists lessons have been learned.

Asked if there was unfinished business after that Nelspruit encounter, he said: " It has relevance in that it is history. It is over for us. In preparation from this week we will have got a bit of confidence out of the things that went well in that game, but also recognise our shortcomings and what we need to improve on.

"But tomorrow is a new day, a new game, a new dynamic - so whatever happens tomorrow will be relevant tomorrow.

"I was part of the team which lost here in 2010, so in the same way as they will find inspiration from leading in Nelspruit we will know that is an easy one to slip on if you don't prepare well, as happened in 2010. There is a lot to play because when you are representing your country you need to be at your best.

"We are expecting anything and everything. I remember the build-up to that game in Nelspruit when a lot of the South African media wrote them off after their performance against Samoa and maybe on the day they caught us with our pants down. This time we'll expect anything."

The Scots went down 21-10 against the South Africans at Murrayfield a year ago but came up with a 21-17 victory two years before that.

And de Villiers does not expect to get it easy this time.

He said: "Certain teams will have certain approaches to the game, but we know what to expect against Scotland and we know we have struggled against them in the past. We won't underestimate them.

"Apparently the Murrayfield pitch is not looking too great, but it is the same for both teams.

"For us, it is about improving as a team. We've got two games left this year and we want to end on a high.

"The breakdown will be a massive challenge for us tomorrow in the way that they put us under a lot of pressure there in Nelspruit. It is an area that we feel we have made a lot of progress, but still you're challenged in that area of the game in the northern hemisphere and tomorrow will be no different.

"You get twelve games a year to represent your country and you can't be up for any one of those. I'm happy with the results we've had this year and how we have played. If I could single out two, it is probably the Nelspruit game against Scotland and the Mendoza game against Argentina, when we were not at our best.

"Barring that, I think we played well although we are still chasing that 100 per cent game when we get everything right."