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Scotland 'will struggle with South Africa forwards'

South Africa training in Gateshead. Credit: PA

Scotland's assistant coach has admitted they will have a tough test against South Africa's maul today, and need to hope they are not bulldozed out of the way.

The Dark Blues can all but clinch a quarter-final slot if they become the second Pool B team to shoot down the Springboks when they clash at St James' Park.

But Jonathan Humphreys says that first they must find a way to stop Heyneke Meyer's rampaging forwards storming through the middle of their defence.

Scotland's Achillies heel all year has been dealing with the driving maul, having shipped tries against Italy, Ireland and Japan after failing to front up to the physicality of their opposition's forwards.

It is just their luck that they now take on a side who have got the technique down to a fine art.

Humphreys - the man in charge of whipping the Scottish forwards into shape - hopes the work he has put his pack through is enough to ensure they do not suffer again.

We've worked on these areas over the last two and a half months.

Hopefully we can be pretty physical in that area and disrupt what they try and do. That's all you can do, really.

I don't think there's any magic formula for stopping a maul. It's about being legal, trying to get in early, and trying to disrupt what they're trying to do."

– Jonathan Humphreys, Assistant coach

His thoughts are echoed by centre Matt Scott:

That's the game right there - the line-out and the mauls.

The forwards are going to have an extremely tough day at the office.

As a backline we just have to help them out as much as we can, when we can.

That means making our tackles and putting them back when we get the chance because we know it's going to be tough for them up front.

South Africa are a world-class mauling team. I've got limited expertise on the matter but I know from playing the Springboks in the past that when they get that maul rumbling and big carriers coming at you second and third phase, their momentum can sometime be too much to stop.

It's going to be a massive part of the game."

– Matt Scott, Scotland centre

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