• Reuters

Scotland Undaunted by Springbok Challenge

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo
Rugby Union – Six Nations Championship – France v Scotland – Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France – February 26, 2023 Scotland team huddle after the match

Scotland will not be daunted when they face defending champions South Africa in their opening Pool B fixture at the Rugby World Cup and know exactly what to expect from the Springboks in Marseille on Sunday, lock Scott Cummings said.

The duo are in a group that also includes world number one Ireland, and with only two sides advancing to the quarter-finals, neither can afford a slip-up in game one.

There has been much talk about the Springboks’ ‘Bomb Squad’, forwards who come off the bench in the second half to keep the team’s intensity and physicality high for the full 80 minutes.

Cummings knows they will be a big challenge for Scotland, but says they have plans to counter it.

“We are excited for that first game,” Cummings told reporters on Monday.

“South Africa are playing well. We know how they play, they play their (own) style. We know what’s coming. There are things we are trying to get up on that.

“It’s a massive game, first game of the tournament against the last tournament’s champions.”

The Boks have great depth through their squad, allowing them to use their bench effectively, but Cummings believes the same can be said for Scotland these days.

“We’re happy with the depth of the team, there’s real quality of players,” he said.

“One of the strengths is there isn’t much drop-off when certain players don’t play. There is always someone ready to step in and represent the jersey well.

“Whatever my job is in the team I’ll do it to the best of my ability whether that’s being on the bench, whether it’s starting or whether it is not playing but helping the team out.”

Ireland and South Africa may be many people’s favourites to emerge from the pool, but Cummings says the underdog tag is something Scotland are used to.

“It’s a tough pool we are in and we are going to come up against a lot of tough teams in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“But we’re excited about it. You’re going to have to beat the best teams at some point so why not try and do it in the groups.

“A big team we’re playing, like South Africa… it’s going to be a massive challenge but we’re not going to shy away from it.”