Steve Tandy: Scotland have the muscle to front up to South Africa

The coach expects a physical encounter in Marseille on Sunday.

Steve Tandy: Scotland have the muscle to front up to South Africa at  Rugby World Cup SNS Group

Steve Tandy insisted Scotland have the muscle to front up to South Africa as he warned his team the Springboks would “try to come through the front door” in Sunday’s mouth-watering World Cup showdown in Marseille.

The Stade Velodrome encounter promises to be a culture clash with the brutish Boks renowned for their formidable power game and the Scots having developed into one of the most swashbuckling attacking teams in the world.

Tandy admits Scotland must brace themselves for the full force of the South Africans – who destroyed New Zealand in their last warm-up game two weeks ago – but the assistant coach is adamant they are equipped to handle it.

“You know they are going to try to come through the front door so physically we have to be on the money,” he said on Saturday.

“But we believe in our physicality and the way we want to go about imposing that physicality whether it is at the breakdown or in the tackle contest.

“Their game has gone to another level when you look at their transition play, the threat of their back three and (stand-off Manie) Libbok’s kicking game – his crossfield kicks, little dinks and things like that – so we have to be on the money in that transitional phase.

“But, first and foremost, you have to pitch up against South Africa, otherwise you are going to be on the back foot.”

Asked if he had any worries that Scotland might be overpowered by their opponents, Tandy said: “None. I have no concerns with this group.

“I see them work every day, I see them in the gym, I see them physically, I see them doing close-quarters skills, I see them defensively, I see them at the breakdown and the way they play and no, there are no doubts about this group.”

Scotland scrum-half Ben White is relishing the chance to experience the atmosphere inside Marseille’s iconic 67,000-capacity Stade Velodrome.

“It’s an amazing stadium,” said the 25-year-old. “France put on a great show. The opening game was amazing and all the stadiums, all the facilities, the way they run things here is amazing.

“They absolutely love their rugby in the south and it’ll be a great spectacle. You’ve got two good teams who are playing good rugby and it’ll be a great match.”

White, who will be playing his club rugby in France following the World Cup after signing for Toulon, is relishing the chance to start the biggest game of his career in the number nine jersey just 19 months after making his international debut.

“It’s pretty special, it’s the biggest stage, the one you dream of when you’re a kid,” said the former London Irish player. “I’ve worked hard to get here, it’s not been a straight rise, there have been ebbs and flows and ups and downs.

“I want to make sure that I do everything I can, work as hard as I can, compete in every moment and play to the best of my ability to make sure the team wins and we do the country proud.

“There are a lot of people who have a lot of belief in us as a team and we want to go out there and show what we can do.”

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