Fourie du Preez
Du Preez steps up as captain after the retirement of Jean de Villiers Getty

A pivotal encounter in Pool B sees the Springboks look to continue their resurgence against Scotland, who have maximum points from their first two matches, at St James' Park.

Where to watch

South Africa vs Scotland kicks off at 4.45pm BST on Saturday 3 October. Live coverage is available on ITV HD and BBC Radio Five Live.


After becoming one of only two sides to take a maximum of 10 points from their opening two pool matches [the other being Six Nations champions Ireland] Scotland are presented with the first of two opportunities to qualify for the quarter-finals. In their way stand two-time world champions South Africa who, having returned to form in style against Samoa, will be keen on climbing to the top of Pool B.

Vern Cotter has rung the changes from the comprehensive second-half dismantling of the United States, with 10 players dropping out including injured fly-half Finn Russell. Gordon Reid, Richie Vernon and Blair Cowan make their first appearances of the tournament, but the Scots are otherwise at full strength. Greg Laidlaw returns at scrum half.

If second-half specialists Scotland can string together a full 80 minutes in this tournament they have the capacity to deliver a genuine bloody nose to a high-profile opponent. Seventy-six points have been plundered after the break in their wins over Japan and USA but despite the impressive striker-rate Cotter will be acutely aware his side can ill afford to start slowly against the Springboks.

Duncan Weir
Duncan Weir, who scored against the US, comes in as one of 10 changes Getty

Injury has once again attempted to derail South Africa's campaign. Since beating Samoa, Jean de Villiers has retired from international rugby while they will also be without lock Victor Matfield as Fourie du Preez takes over the captaincy. But Heyneke Meyer's team have shown they can thrive as the wounded animal.

The six-try win over Samoa, with JP Pietersen scoring a hat-trick was as impressive a performance by any team in the competition so far, made all the more miraculous given their dismantling by Japan in Brighton on the opening weekend. South Africa are smarter to such a counter-attack now, but in Scotland there is an opposition who can put together phases with ambitious lines and smart passing which has the capacity to cause another shock.


South Africa: 15. Willie Le Roux, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Damian De Allende, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Handre Pollard, 9. Fourie Du Preez; 1. Tendai Mtawarira, 2. Bismarck Du Plessis, 3. Jannie Du Plessis, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Lodewyk De Jager, 6. Francois Louw, 7. Schalk Burger, 8. Duane Vermeulen

Replacements: 16. Adriaan Strauss, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Frans Malherbe, 19. Pieter-Steph Du Toit, 20. Willem Alberts, 21. Ruan Pienaar, 22. Pat Lambie, 23. Jan Serfontein.

Scotland: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Richie Vernon, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Tim Visser, 10. Duncan Weir, 9. Greig Laidlaw; 1. Gordon Reid, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. WP Nel, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Josh Strauss, 7. Blair Cowan , 8. Dave Denton

Replacements: 16. Ross Ford, 17. Alasdair Dickinson, 18. Jon Welsh, 19. Tim Swinson, 20. Ryan Wilson, 21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22. Pete Horne , 23. Sean Lamont.

What the coaches say

Heyneke Meyer: "When I was appointed I said I only believed in two sorts of rugby, winning and losing rugby, and lately we've played more losing rugby than winning rugby. But I've always said if we're playing to our strengths nobody in the world can beat us. I still believe that.

"I think Scotland plays total rugby. They've moved on with Vern Cotter, who's an unbelievable coach. They've scored a lot of tries lately. They move the ball. They offload. They get quick ball. They've got threat in the back three, so they've really moved on from when we played them last time.

"We need to be brutal physically, set our lines and defend like we defended last game, without giving any points away, because they are one of the best attacking sides we're going to face this year. They're a very dangerous attacking side."

JP Pietersen
Pietersen scored the 51st hat-trick in World Cup history as South Africa returned to form Getty

Vern Cotter: "These players will be giving 100% of themselves. And it's a team that will be competitive. We said we would need to use everyone and that's the case now. It's time just to step up.

"Everybody saw that they lifted the intensity both in attack and defence. They went back to a game that they've been playing over the past two years, which is about getting over the advantage line and then piling on pressure. They've got big powerful players as we know.

"We're not looking at the Samoa game, that's next week. We're looking at this game and we're looking to put in a big performance, to have a real crack at these guys. If we get it right, we know where that brings us."

Other fixtures

2.30pm: Samoa vs Japan (Stadium MK)

8pm: England vs Australia (Twickenham)