Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

Scotland’s Grant Gilchrist on facing the 'best version' of the Springboks

Faf de Klerk of South Africa runs back to join his team mates during the Summer International match between New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on August 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Bullish Grant Gilchrist is adamant Scotland remain unfazed by South Africa’s blistering form in the lead-up to their World Cup showdown in Marseille a week on Sunday.


While the Scots have enjoyed an encouraging summer campaign, the Boks have been busy inflicting record defeats on both Wales (52-16) and New Zealand (35-7) over the past two weekends to climb to second in the world rankings.

The Scotland squad watched South Africa’s demolition of the All Blacks together in their hotel on Friday, but lock Gilchrist insists it has not caused any heightened trepidation within the dressing room.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

“It doesn’t change our mindset,” he told the PA news agency. “We’ve known all along that South Africa can peak at a World Cup, they’re world champions for a reason.


“We always knew the size of the challenge that was going to face us. Other people might say this and that, but we were expecting to play the best version of the Springboks, and we’re going to relish that opportunity.

“It’s even more exciting when you see the way they played against the All Blacks. They’re one of the top sides in the world and we have to go out and impose our game on them.

“If you don’t feel excited about playing South Africa at a World Cup when they’re in the form they’re in, then you’re in the wrong changing room. We’re going to embrace that.


“We know we’ll be massive underdogs but we’ll be going into that game having prepared really well and we certainly believe if we can get our best rugby on the pitch for 80 minutes we can cause them a lot of problems.”

The Scots made it three wins from four summer Tests on Saturday when they recovered from a 6-0 half-time deficit to defeat Georgia 33-6 at Murrayfield, with five tries after the break. Gilchrist feels it was good practice for their World Cup pool matches against the likes of Tonga and Romania when the Scots will find themselves cast as favourites.

“We spoke last week about how it was always going to be a mental challenge playing at home with all the expectation that we were going to blow Georgia away,” he explained.


“They’re a good side, they win a lot of games. I know they play a tier down from us but they beat Wales recently. They’re not a minnow side, they’re a quality outfit and they showed that for spells. They’ve got players tearing up the Top 14.


“We knew the challenge and that we’d have to be patient, so the pleasing side of it is that we didn’t panic, we stuck to the task and we got the job done.”

Gilchrist feels his team have shown in bursts over the summer – particularly in the two matches home and away against France – what they could be capable of at the World Cup.

“I think we’ve got to look at the positives,” he said, reflecting on the summer campaign. “We’ve built our game and I think we’re really comfortable with what our best performance looks like.

“Probably the second half of the home game against France (when they scored 22 unanswered points to win 25-21) and also the way we started and finished in Saint-Etienne (when losing 30-27).

“We understand we’re going to have to put that out on the pitch for 80 minutes and we’ve not done that yet. But these are warm-up games, they’re for finding your form. We understand we’re going to have to peak in two weeks and that’s an exciting challenge.”



Join free

Japan Rugby League One | Bravelupus v Eagles | Full Match Replay

Big Jim Show | Guinness Six Nations | England v Scotland

Vancouver SVNS - Day 2 - Full Replay

Vancouver SVNS - Day 1 - Full Replay

Life on Tour: 4

Wolfhounds v Clovers | Celtic Challenge 2024 | Full Match Replay

Boks Office | Jesse Kriel reveals the hardest team he had to play at the Rugby World Cup

Big Jim Walks and Talks with Handré Pollard


Trending on RugbyPass


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Rugby 8 hours ago
The Simon Raiwalui verdict on the reimagined Pacific Nations Cup

Love it. Bula Would be stronger if the Pacific Lions did not poach the players. Current 2023 Mix. 1.      Samisoni Frank Simpson Taukei'aho  - Tongatapu, Tonga 2.      Nepo Eti Laulala - Moto'otua, Samoa 3.      Aniseto Ofa He Moori Tuʻungafasi - Nukuʻalofa, Tonga 4.      Leicester Ofa Ki Wales Twickenham Fainga'anuku - Nukuʻalofa, Tonga 5.      Emoni Narawa - Suva, Fiji 6.      Shannon Michael Frizell - Folaha, Tonga 7.      Sevuloni Lasei Reece - Nadi, Fiji   More recent others 8.      Pita Gus Nacagilevu Sowakula - Lautoka, Fiji 9.      Samipeni Finau -Tonga 10.   Roger Tuivasa-Sheck - Apia, Samoa 11.   Folau Fakatava  - Nukuʻalofa, Tonga 12.   Sevuloni Lasei Reece - Nadi, Fiji 13.   Vaea Tangitau Lapota Fifita - Vavaʻu, Tonga   Others 14.   Anesi, Sosene Raymond - Apia, Samoa      15.   Brown, Olo Max - Apia, Samoa    16.   Clarke, Eroni - Apia, Samoa 17.   Collins, Jerry - Apia, Samoa           18.   Ieremia, Alama --Apia, Samoa      19.   Schuster, Nesetorio Jonny-Apia, Samoa   20.   Schwalger, John Evan-Apia, Samoa            21.   Tuigamala, Va'aiga Lealuga-Falesiu, Samoa 22.   Laulala, Casey Daniel Eti-Moto'otua, Samoa          23.   So'oialo, Rodney-Moto'otua, Samoa        24.   Toeava, Isaia-Moto'otua, Samoa               25.   Solomon, Frank-Pago Pago, American Samoa        26.   Muliaina, Junior Malili-Salelesi, Samoa 27.   Masoe, Matemini Christopher-Savai'i, Samoa        28.   Kaino, Jerome-Tutuila, American Samoa  29.   Fekitoa, Malakai Fonokalafi-Ha'apai, Tonga           30.   Lauaki, Sione Tuitupu-Ha'apai, Tonga 31.   Taumoepeau, Saimone-Ha'apai, Tonga    32.   Maka, Isitolo-Longoteme, Tonga               33.   Alatini, Pita Faiva-ki-moana-Nuku'alofa, Tonga     34.   Riechelmann, Charles Calvin-Nuku'alofa, Tonga    35.   Vanisi, Osaiasi Kupu-Nuku'alofa, Tonga    36.   Batty, Walter-Tonga, Tonga         37.   Halai, Frank-Tonga, Tonga            38.   Fraser, Bernard Gabriel-Lautoka, Fiji          39.   Jennings, Arthur Grahn-Lautoka, Fiji          40.   Solomon, David-Levuka, Fiji          41.   Rokocoko, Josevata Taliga-Nadi, Fiji         42.   Matson, John Tabaiwalu Fakavale-Nausori Highlands, Fiji  43.   Vidiri, Joeli-Nausori Highlands, Fiji 44.   Sivivatu, Sitiveni Waica -Suva, Fiji 45.   Williams, Ronald Oscar-Suva, Fiji     Rupeni Caucaunibuca played for New Zealand Barbarian, AB's almost got him but he went to Agen and Toulouse. Then rightfully played for Fiji.   *Sivivatu, Sitiveni Waica and Lauaki, Sione Tuitupu actually played for the *Pacific Islanders rugby union team before been poached.  

2 Go to comments
FEATURE Why serial underachievers Racing 92 spend big and win little Why serial underachievers Racing 92 spend big and win little