John Allan believes that South African-born props Allan Dell and WP Nel will have a key role to play for Scotland against the Springboks on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Boks look set to front some familiar players in Dell, Nel and Josh Strauss in Edinburgh this Saturday. All three South African-born players have been named in the hosts’ wider squad for the fixture.
Eastern Province-born Dell came through for the Sharks at a senior level but left Durban to join Edinburgh in 2014. He won his first Scotland cap in 2016 and made a single appearance for the British & Irish Lions against the Chiefs last year.
Nel played for the Cheetahs between 2009 and 2012, but moved to Edinburgh in 2012 and qualified for Scotland through the residency rule.
Allan, who played for Scotland before moving to South Africa and playing for the Boks, says the two props will have a big role to play for Scotland this weekend.
‘They know the South African front row and the Bok front row knows them as well,’ Allan told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘They will give the Boks respect. But sometimes if you give the opposition too much respect, it can work against you.
‘On the other hand, they will have that extra little bit of motivation because they were born in South Africa, are now Scottish and will want to prove a point. They will want to prove that if they were still in South Africa, they would be there, that they are better than the Boks.’
Scotland’s only loss from their last nine home Tests at Murrayfield came against the All Blacks last November.
‘Scotland are a different prospect at home,’ Allan said. ‘The passion of the crowd can raise the Scotland players up. That alone is a big factor.
‘They were missing their big guns when they lost to Wales recently. They played those guys against Fiji, though, and blasted them off the field.’
Scotland have threats across their backline in the form of fullback Stuart Hogg, flyhalf Finn Russel and ex-Western Province centre Huw Jones. Allan believes that those threats will be neutralised, however, if the Boks starve Scotland of clean ball.
‘They do run the ball and play an attacking style of rugby. But you need the ball for that. The Boks have the edge over them in the forwards. As long as the Boks emphasise that edge then Scotland will battle.
‘If Scotland match them up front and manage to secure ball, I think they have a better attacking backline than the Boks. They also make better decisions. Sometimes the Bok backline kicks the ball away at the wrong time and doesn’t always convert pressure into points.
‘If I was Rassie Erasmus, I would be telling the forwards that the game will be won and lost up front. They have to dominate. If Scotland get a sniff and the crowd gets behind them, then it will be a difficult day for the Boks.’
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