Forwards coach Gary Gold said the Springboks were on high alert for a backlash when the team meets Scotland in the third international of the Springboks’ end-of-year tour at Murrayfield, Edinburgh on Saturday.
Scotland lost 49-3 to New Zealand on Saturday and their coach, Andy Robinson, has challenged his players to restore national pride against South Africa.
“They will be hurting after Saturday’s defeat and they’ll want to erase that memory as quickly as possible,” said Gold. “We’re not reading too much into it – as Graham Henry (All Blacks coach) said himself, the All Blacks hit a real purple patch and not many teams are able to live with them in that mood.
“It was Scotland’s first match together after five months and they’ll be much better for it. They had a series win in Argentina this year and beat Australia at Murrayfield a year ago so they pose a major threat and it would be a big mistake to use last Saturday’s result as any serious form guide.”
Scrumhalf Francois Hougaard missed Thursday’s training session after reporting to breakfast with a slight cold. He was confined to the team hotel for the morning but is expected to recover in time for Saturday’s match.
Hougaard was included in a Springbok line-up that features four personnel changes and one positional switch to the team that defeated Wales 29-25 on Saturday.
The team features two new wings with Lwazi Mvovo making his debut at wing in place of the injured Bryan Habana while Gio Aplon switches from fullback to right wing to deputise for Bjorn Basson who was ruled out with an ankle injury before subsequently being suspended after returning a positive test for a banned stimulant.
Zane Kirchner comes into the starting line-up as fullback while Hougaard and eighthman Ryan Kankowski were the other new inclusions.
Jean de Villiers, who leads the backs, was asked in a press conference how big a blow it was to lose Habana.
“Obviously it’s always disappointing to lose a player with the talent and experience of Bryan but on the other hand the opportunity has opened up for Lwazi to make his debut and we’re all really excited for him.
“He has had an outstanding Absa Currie Cup season with the Sharks and deserves his chance to show us what he can do in the Springbok jersey.”