Rugby Union: Scotland can extend winning run against Zimbabwe

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The Independent Online
Scotland open their six-match summer tour against Zimbabwe today hoping the altitude will not prevent them raising their game to new heights.

The tourists will be playing in temperatures in the mid-20s and at an altitude of 4,800ft. But the team manager, Doug Morgan, feels Zimbabwe will have their own difficulties: "They are bound to be tired after their game last Saturday against Namibia."

The tourists would be basing their game around a strong performance from the forwards, especially in the opening exchanges, said the assistant coach, Hugh Campbell. "Our scrummaging has gone well in practices but the acid test is out there in a match." Campbell was in Zimbabwe two years ago with the Scotland A squad when the Scots won both Tests against the host country.

Scotland may be forgiven for thinking the game is a Murrayfield fixture, with the Zimbabwean coach being called John Knox and the team manager, Fred Jocks.

"I can assure you that I have absolutely no connection at all with Scotland," joked Knox of South Africa. He was recruited from Northern Transvaal to boost Zimbabwe's chances of achieving a place in the next World Cup.

Knox knows his players face a hard task in matching Scotland's professionals. "It will be a big mountain to climb, though we have gained a lot of confidence from our win over Namibia last Saturday."

Scotland have chalked up six wins against Zimbabwe since the first meeting in 1987, and they have every chance of further success this time round.