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Scotland upbeat despite heavy defeat


Alasdair Strokosch believes Scotland can take positives from defeat by New Zealand

Alasdair Strokosch believes Scotland can take positives from defeat by New Zealand

Alasdair Strokosch believes Scotland can take positives from defeat by New Zealand

Scotland's players are optimistic of repeating their 2010 victory over South Africa in Saturday's EMC Test at Murrayfield.

The belief comes from scoring three tries in a 51-22 loss to world champions New Zealand on Sunday and a 21-17 win on the Springboks' most recent trip to Edinburgh, when Andy Robinson's men responded from a 49-3 defeat to the All Blacks two years' ago.

Victory over South Africa, plus a win over Tonga on November 24, is required if Scotland are to return to the world's top eight and avoid a poor seeding for the 2015 World Cup. Flanker Alasdair Strokosch said: "We've bounced back from this before and we will do it again. We will come back stronger; there's a lot we can take from it."

He added: "We've beaten both teams (South Africa and Tonga) before and I'm sure we will do again."

Scotland's loss to the All Blacks was effectively sealed by three converted tries in a 10-minute first-half blitz.

Scrum-half Mike Blair said: "We beat South Africa the last time we played them, but we're still very aware how strong they are. I think it will be very important against them that we don't give them that 10-minute period that we gave New Zealand. We did a lot of very good stuff, but ultimately when you give a team three tries in 10 minutes there's only going to be one result."

Scotland will be forced into at least one change for the Springboks Test after openside flanker Ross Rennie suffered a dislocated shoulder against the All Blacks.

David Denton replaced Rennie and although he is primarily a number eight or blindside flanker, could start if Robinson opts against selecting a specialist openside against the giant Springbok pack. Glasgow duo John Barclay and the uncapped Chris Fusaro would come into contention for that role.

There were soft tissue injuries for props Geoff Cross (ribs) and Ryan Grant (back), replacement hooker Scott Lawson (shoulder), lock Jim Hamilton (dead leg), centres Matt Scott (shoulder) and Nick De Luca (calf) and wing Tim Visser (flank).

Cross was the only specialist tighthead in the squad against New Zealand Test and his performance is likely to be enough to retain his place, despite Euan Murray being available again after his Sunday absence.

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