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Trio's experience crucial for Scots

Three of the present Scotland squad have tasted victory over South Africa, providing a dose of confidence after last week's morale-battering loss to New Zealand.

Nathan Hines, Chris Paterson and Nikki Walker savoured a 21-6 victory over the Springboks eight years ago, with wing Walker scoring one of his four Scotland tries.

Hines, who toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009, said: "I've had more success against South Africa than against New Zealand and probably any southern hemisphere team, so that's a big boost for us."

Last week Scotland entered the opening EMC Autumn Test off a four-match unbeaten run and chasing a first win in 105 years over the All Blacks, but fell well short in a 49-3 defeat. Although Scotland are meeting the reigning world champions this weekend, the match does not have the same historical resonance as Scotland have beaten the Springboks four times in 20 attempts.

The last triumph came in November 2002 at Murrayfield and while Scotland have lost 11 of 12 meetings with South Africa since the end of Apartheid, there is hope of success this weekend.

Hines added: "We've had our confidence knocked a bit from last weekend, but you've got to be optimistic and confident that we can do better than we did last week.

"That's the thing we've got to do this week - go out there and play the way we should've played last week and then I think we'll be much, much happier."

Leinster's Hines, who will line up at blindside flanker in one of four changes to Scotland's starting XV for Saturday's clash, knows what to expect from the Springboks.

He said: "It was difficult last week - they attacked from everywhere - but I think South Africa are a little more straightforward.

"They're a big powerful bunch of guys. They come straight at you and it's up to you to step up and make the hit and try and stop them going forward. It's not a complicated game plan but it doesn't make it easy."


From Belfast Telegraph