Scotland want to exploit Springbok 'weaknesses', says skipper Stuart Hogg

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Stuart Hogg. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stuart Hogg. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Scotland face an acid test against South Africa at Murrayfield this weekend but captain Stuart Hogg said on Friday the Springboks had "weaknesses" having already played against the Rugby World Cup winners twice this year.

The Scots go into Saturday's game buoyed by last week's 15-13 win over Australia.

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"They are an unbelievable team, they have got some brilliant individual players and they are world champions for a reason," Hogg told reporters.

"But like everything there are weaknesses within it and hopefully we can exploit that.

"We need to be patient in what we are trying to do and also stand up to their physicality. If we can stand up to that and outmuscle them we give ourselves a good opportunity of winning."

South Africa have become familiar opponents for Hogg in 2021, the fullback featuring in the first two Tests for the British and Irish Lions in July only to be left out of the series decider, which the Springboks won 19-16.

Hogg was surrounded by several Scotland players in the Lions squad, with Dark Blues boss Gregor Townsend an assistant to the tourists' head coach, Warren Gatland.

'Unique game-plan'

But whether all that inside knowledge helps Scotland end a run of six straight defeats by South Africa dating back to 2010 remains to be seen.

"It's very difficult, as we saw in the summer they've got a game-plan unique to themselves," said 29-year-old Hogg.

"And they've had it forever, it works incredibly well for them."

Part of that plan involves repeatedly testing the opposition fullback and wings with soaring kicks.

"As a back three and defending the backfield we're going to find ourselves under high balls, and that's something we've worked hard on all week and I'm looking forward to," said Hogg.

A veteran of 88 Tests, Hogg was also braced for a tough contest up front.

"They are very, very physical," he added. "They have jackal (turnover) threats all over their team.

"So in terms of our attacking breakdown, we need to be squeaky clean and make sure we can blast past the contact and keep that ball safe.

"If we continue to do that for multi-phases, then that's the time that we will most challenge South Africa."

South Africa beat Wales 23-18 last week in the opening match of a tour of Britain that concludes with a 20 November clash against England, a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final.

But the narrow win over the Wallabies has emboldened Scotland to think of a clean sweep in an end-of-year campaign they started with a 60-14 rout of Tonga and finish next week against Japan, their World Cup conquerors.

"Straight after that (Australia) game we talked about the job only being half done," said Hogg. "We'd won two games and still had two to go."

Saturday's clash kicks off at 15:00 (SA time).

Teams:

Scotland

15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Rufus McLean, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Nick Haining, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4, Sam Skinner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Scott McInally 1 Pierre Schoeman

Substitutes: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Jamie Bhattie, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 George Horne, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Blair Kinghorn

Springboks

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Frans Steyn

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