South Africa v Scotland: Match Day Programme

South Africa v Scotland: Match Day Programme

Welcome to game two of Pool B as South Africa and Scotland get their tournament underway. With the Springboks, Ireland and Scotland all in the same group one of these teams will not make the Quarter Final's making this opening game a must win for the current World Champions and the high flying Scotland. With head to head victors being the next factor in deciding the group should teams be tied on log points there is a bit more to fight for in this game. 

  • South Africa are on a seven-match winning run against Scotland, dating back to a 21-17 loss at Murrayfield in November 2010.

  • Scotland have never beaten South Africa outside of Scotland, with a victory in the first-ever meeting at Hampden Park in Glasgow followed by four at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.

  • In the last meeting, Scotland succumbed to a 30-15 defeat against the world champions despite Stuart Hogg becoming his country's joint-top try scorer, drawing level with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger on 24 tries. Hogg has since claimed the record for himself.

  • South Africa (2nd) and Scotland (5th) go into Rugby World Cup 2023 at their highest-ever positions in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings directly before a tournament.

Fixture: South Africa v Scotland
Venue: Stade de Marseille, Marseille
Kickoff Time: 17:45 (Local)

Referee: Angus Gardner

  • Gardner refereed three pool matches at RWC 2019 (France 23-21 Argentina, Japan 19-12 Ireland and Wales 35-13 Uruguay), having been an assistant referee at RWC 2015.
  • Gardner has refereed this fixture once before, a 30-15 win for the Springboks at Murrayfield in the 2021 Autumn Nations Series.

  • Exactly a quarter of his 40 previous tests have involved South Africa.

  • Gardner refereed a Scotland game as recently as this year’s Six Nations, a 26-14 win against Italy.

Head-to-head Played:
Played: 28
South Africa Wins: 23
Scotland Wins: 5

Points for:
South Africa: 742
Scotland: 321

Biggest winning margin:
South Africa: 58 (68-10 on 6 December, 1997)
Scotland: 15 (21-6 on 16 November, 2002)

  • South Africa head into this World Cup having just inflicted New Zealand’s heaviest-ever defeat, beating the All Blacks 35-7 in a statement win at Twickenham.

  • In that match, South Africa attacked for two fewer minutes than the 14-man All Blacks but outscored them by 28 points. Rocked back by South Africa’s defence, nearly a third of New Zealand’s rucks were behind the gainline (32 per cent).

  • South Africa forced New Zealand into conceding four scrum penalties, with Ethan de Groot, on the loose-head for New Zealand, accoun

  • South Africa have had a man sin-binned in each of their last four matches following PieterSteph du Toit’s yellow card at Twickenham against the All Blacks.

  • Scotland finished in the top half of the Six Nations this year (third place) for just the fifth time in 24 seasons, scoring 17 tries across their five matches.

  • Scotland have averaged more defenders beaten (27) and offloads (9.8) per game than any other Six Nations team in 2023.

  • Out of the top 10 ranked teams in the world, Scotland at the third-best at turning visits into the opposition 22 into points, averaging 2.6 points per visit. Only France (2.77) and South Africa (2.67) have been more clinical in 2023.

  • As many as 76 per cent of Scotland’s tries in the 2023 Six Nations started with a lineout or scrum, more than any other team

Team News - South Africa:

  • Faf de Klerk will win his 50th cap for the Springboks. He is the third most capped South Africa scrum-half behind Joost van der Westhuizen and Fourie du Preez.

  • South Africa have made just one change to their starting pack to the one that took on New Zealand at Twickenham - Jasper Wiese comes in for Duane Vermeulen at number eight for his fourth start of the year.

  • Cheslin Kolbe comes in on the left wing for Makazole Mapimpi

  • Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel are reunited in the midfield. It will be the ninth time they have played as a partnership since RWC 2019.

Team News - Scotland:

  • Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has named 12 players with Rugby World Cup experience in his matchday 23, including nine in the starting XV. Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist and Finn Russell will play in their third World Cup.

  • There are four players with more than 50 caps to their name, including Scotland’s longest-ever servant Richie Gray, whose career spans a record 13 years and 7 months.

  • Darcy Graham, who has scored seven tries in his last four tests, has been declared fit and will face South Africa for the first time after coming through training this week unscathed.

  • Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie was successful with all 16 of his tackles the last time Scotland played South Africa in November 2021.

  • Duhan van der Merwe has beaten 61 defenders in 2023, 25 more than any other player.

  • Finn Russell has made 16 offloads in 2023, six more than anyone else.

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