Boks not planning special treatment for Scotland wizard Russell

Assistant coach Deon Davids says the Springboks will not be making any specific alterations to deal with the threat posed by Scotland playmaker Finn Russell in Saturday’s Test at Murrayfield.

Russell is expected to keep his place at flyhalf against the Springboks after helping Scotland claim a tightly fought win over Australia this past Sunday.

The 29-year-old sparked the British & Irish Lions’ backline when he came off the bench in the first half of the third Test in Cape Town in August, creating linebreaks with his passing and cross-field kicking ability.

However, forwards coach Davids said the Boks won’t be changing any part of their defensive plan to specifically deal with Russell in Edinburgh.

“We respect Finn Russell and the ability of all the other players in the team,” Davids said.

“We are not focusing on one specific player. We have a big focus on what we want to do better this weekend and, obviously, that means having an understanding of the challenges Scotland pose.

“So, we are going to ask for a collective effort to be successful this coming weekend.”

Davids added that he expects the Gregor Townsend-coached Scotland to pose a bigger threat with ball in hand than the Boks faced against Wales in Cardiff.

“If you think about Gregor Townsend’s philosophy, the brand of rugby he played with Scotland in the last Six Nations and also last weekend, obviously part of the style of play is to keep the ball in hand, and use it to work up the field, so I think going into this game and having been successful last weekend that will be the same scenario they bring to us.

“Having quality players like Finn Russell and the rest of the players around him to implement that, I think they are going to ask a lot of questions of us in the game, and from a defensive point of view those are the things we need to be ready for.”

Saturday’s Test kicks off at 3pm SA time.

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