Murray returns with Springbok repeat high on his wish-list

 

It did not take a genius of Einstein proportions to work out how Scotland came to be on the wrong end of a record-equalling New Zealand points tally and a 51-22 scoreline at Murrayfield last Sunday.

"We missed 30-plus tackles," Sean Lamont said yesterday, wearing his team regulation training top, complete with EMC2 logo. "You can't do that against any team, let alone the world's best."

This Saturday the world's second best – well, second-ranked team – are in town and repairing the ramparts will be crucial if Scotland and their right wing are to have any hope of beating the Springboks and forcing their way into the top eight in the international rankings ahead of next month's World Cup draw. "We're hoping to do what we did two years ago and get a backlash against South Africa," Lamont added.

In the autumn of 2010 Scotland reacted to a 49-3 thumping by New Zealand with a Blacklash against the Boks the following week. Seven days after leaking seven tries against the All Blacks, they restricted South Africa to just a late consolation five-pointer in a 21-17 victory. Dan Parks, now retired from the international arena, scored all the home points with his right boot that day but just as vital to the Scots' success was the clout that came from Euan Murray at the coal face of the scrum.

For the second time in two visits by the Springboks, the Tartan tight-head got the better of South Africa's loosehead prop, Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira. Sadly there will be no renewal of acquaintance at Murrayfield on Saturday between Beauty, if Murray can be described as such, and the Beast, Mtawarira having returned home at the weekend after suffering heart palpitations before South Africa's 16-12 win against Ireland in Dublin.

Murray, however, has been restored to the Scotland starting line-up in the one unenforced change made by the head coach, Andy Robinson. David Denton comes in as openside flanker because Ross Rennie is out with a dislocated shoulder. Murray, of course, missed the All Black game because his devout Christian beliefs extend to resting on the Sabbath. He might have missed out this week, too, Geoff Cross having produced a fine, try-scoring performance in his absence.

"I was hugely pleased with Geoff's performance, but I still believe that Euan is our best tight-head prop," Robinson reasoned. "Euan performed well in the summer and he's been playing well at Agen lately. Geoff will get an opportunity this weekend off the bench but I still see Euan as our best scrummager in a battle that's going to be mighty this weekend in taking on Steenkamp."

Gurthro Steenkamp comes in at loose-head prop for the Springboks, one of two changes made by their head coach, Heyneke Meyer, who has also decided to give a start at outside centre to the quicksilver Western Province centre Juan de Jongh as a midfield partner for the captain, Jean de Villiers.

"Steenkamp's a big, strong player," said Murray, who left Newcastle in the summer and will move from Agen to Worcester at the end of the autumn series. "I played against him for Agen against Toulouse. South Africa have got lots of powerful experienced props.

"It's sad news about the Beast. He's a nice guy and a very good player. I wish him well. I hope he gets back playing."

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice