McGeechan calls for Scots to raise game

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The Independent Online

Ian McGeechan has called on Scotland to "finish the job" as they prepare to face an out-of-sorts South Africa at Ellis Park today.

The Scotland coach said he was "gutted" at watching his side squander a 25-12 lead in last Saturday's first Test as the Springboks squeaked home 29-25. And now, after an illustrious career which has seen him secure wins here as a player with the Lions of 1974 and as coach with the same side in 1997, he wants to achieve similar success with Scotland before becoming the Scottish Rugby Union director of rugby following this year's World Cup.

However, Ellis Park is a hoodoo ground for most touring sides and considering the hosts are likely to be more organised after their inept performance in Durban, McGeechan has called on his charges to lift their game significantly to cope with the challenge. He admitted his side threw the game away in Durban, saying: "We did not play well for 10 minutes in the middle of the second half, but then picked the whole game up again, which shows where we could have been playing prior to that.

"The guys knew how close they were to a famous victory and were gutted that they blew it. We were desperately disappointed. I have been privileged to coach teams into winning positions against South Africa and know how hard it is to get those winning opportunities. To get into that position with Scotland was wonderful, but then it was so cruel not to be able to finish off."

The Scots may be confident about making up for that defeat, but several of the Springboks know that their World Cup aspirations will be ended if they do not perform. This makes them a much more dangerous proposition.

South Africa: J van der Westhuyzen (Bulls); S Terblanche (Sharks), M Joubert (W Province), T Halstead (Sharks), A Willemse; L Koen (both Lions), Joost van der Westhuizen (capt); P Wannenburg (both Bulls), W van Heerden (Lions), H Gerber (W Province), V Matfield, B Botha, R Bands, D Coetzee (all Bulls), L Sephaka (Lions). Replacements: R Kempson (Stormers), C Visagie, S Boome (both W Province), J Smith (Cheetahs), C Davidson (Sharks), G Bobo (Lions), B Russell (Sharks).

Scotland: G Metcalfe (Glasgow); C Paterson (Edinburgh), A Craig (Orrell), A Henderson (Glasgow), K Logan (Wasps); G Townsend (Borders), B Redpath (Sale, capt); G Kerr (Leeds), G Bulloch (Glasgow), B Douglas (Borders), S Murray, N Hines (both Edinburgh), J White (Sale), S Taylor (Edinburgh), A Mower (Newcastle). Replacements: R Russell (Saracens), G McIlwham (Bordeaux-Bègles), J Petrie (Glasgow), M Leslie, M Blair (both Edinburgh), G Ross (Leeds), B Laney (Edinburgh).

Referee: S Young (Australia).