Jon Cardinelli

Coetzee vs Fusaro

. .

The outcome of Saturday's intense breakdown battle will be influenced by the respective openside flankers, writes JON CARDINELLI.

Both men have a lot to prove. Chris Fusaro boasts just three Test caps, but is yet to play against one of the big southern hemisphere teams. The Scots will hope that Fusaro can cause South Africa as many problems as Alasdair Strokosh and Ryan Wilson did in last year's Test in Nelspruit.

Marcell Coetzee has been a regular in the Springbok squad since June 2012, but is yet to cement his place in the starting line-up. He will receive a rare chance to start this weekend, and will want to show the Bok coach that he has the breakdown skills to be considered as a more permanent openside option.

Neither man will have the advantage of playing in a settled forward combination. Scotland come to South Africa with a depleted side, while the Boks have also been forced to make a number of changes due to injuries and key players rejoining their clubs in Europe. Nevertheless, both will have a key role to play at the breakdown.

Coetzee was one of the Sharks' best players in the early rounds of the Super Rugby competition, but has not been as prominent in that fetching role. That said, he will need to produce a Francois Louw-type of performance this Saturday if the Boks hope to beat Scotland by a comfortable margin.

Photos: Peter Heeger/David RogersGallo Images/Getty Images

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