Scotland v South Africa, Murrayfield, November 17
Robinson wary of Boks' mastery of the maul
November 16, 2012
Scotland coach Andy Robinson is wary of South Africa's ability to maul their opponents into submission © Getty Images
Scotland coach Andy Robinson has pinpointed South Africa's mastery of the maul as key to his side's fortunes when the two sides clash at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Robinson's side tackle the Springboks having been swept aside by New Zealand in their opening autumn international on Sunday. But the Scots can take heart from the fact that they responded to a similar mauling at the hands of the All Blacks two years ago to beat South Africa in his only previous meeting with the South Africans as Scotland's head coach.
But if they are to repeat that famous win then Robinson knows that his side are going to have to shackle the Boks who mauled their way back into last weekend's clash with Ireland before claiming a narrow victory.
"They do come route one," Robinson told The Herald. "They are prepared to run right over you . . . through you. They have an incredible maul, probably the best maul in world rugby. They got back into the game against Ireland with the maul and the power of that maul. So it will be a great battle in terms of the lineout and our ability to contest South Africa's ball, but also not allow them to establish mauls."
Of the Boks come-from-behind win in Dublin last time out, he added: "When you look at teams that play Ireland and are 12-3 down, not many teams win that match. That shows how much this South African team has improved. The manner of how they won that game is important; they won it through their kicking game and their ability to contest, but most importantly, they won it through their maul. We've got to be able to stop them establishing any mauls."
Robinson has bolstered his line-up with the introduction of tight-head Euan Murray and No.8 David Denton in bid to win what he expects will be a fearsome physical battle. "I thought David Denton carried hugely well at the weekend when he came on," he said. "[Al] Strokosch and [Kelly] Brown I thought had very good performances in terms of the physicality they brought to the game. Looking at the opposition we're playing against, I thought it was right to keep that back row together. John Barclay comes on to the bench having trained tremendously well and he'll be an asset off the bench.
"I was hugely pleased with Geoff Cross's performance and seeing the improvements that he's making (but) I still believe Euan Murray is our best tight-head prop. He played well in the summer and he's been playing well at Agen. Geoff will get an opportunity this weekend but Euan is our best scrummager in a battle that I think is going to be a mighty one this weekend in taking on [Gurthro] Steenkamp."
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