Scotland back-row Hamish Watson knows that South Africa will pose a physical challenge to Scotland on Saturday evening, but he believes the way they dealt with England and France’s “massive” packs during the Six Nations means they are up for the challenge.
The Edinburgh Rugby openside will win his 22nd cap at BT Murrayfield as the sixth best team in the world host the fifth best in what promises to be a cracker.
The 27-year-old has never faced South Africa before and has been hearing all week about the size of the opposition he will be coming up against.
However, with Scotland having won nine of their last 10 games at the national stadium they don’t fear anyone on home turf and he said: “It’ll be a big challenge, ut look at the Six Nations earlier this year. The French pack are pretty massive, as is the English, but we took on both of them and beat them both at Murrayfield. We’re confident that we can deal with their size.
“They are big men and the back-rows probably have a couple of stone on me, but we’re confident that we can deal with that.
“When you’re lining up in the tunnel, I’m probably one of the smaller players apart from the scrum-halves, it’s just something you get used to.
“If you don’t, then you’ll be out. So you have to just get used to because I’m not going to be growing any bigger now. You just deal with it and use it to your advantage.
“It is going to be a tough challenge. They are probably one of the most physical teams in world rugby - if not THE most physical - So it’ll be a real challenge.
“Definitely up front in the forwards we’ve got to make sure we match them if we’re to win the game. I haven’t played against them yet, but I know we’ll front-up physically.”
Watson missed last week’s match against Fiji, but he was not fazed to see Jamie Ritchie playing very well in the number seven jersey.
“Jamie played amazingly well. The number seven jersey isn’t my shirt, it’s the union’s shirt. There’s so many good sevens out there at the moment and good back-rowers. Jamie played brilliantly and took his opportunity. It wasn’t tough for me to watch, it was actually good to see.
“It’s good to have that kind of depth in the squad going into such a huge year for Scotland.”
Meanwhile, Finn Russell believes his game has become more controlled since he moved to France in the summer - and he knows he will need every ounce of that control against South Africa.
The 26-year-old stand-off played well last weekend as the Scots cranked things up a notch in the second half to see off Fiji 54-17.
Russell, who moved from Glasgow Warriors to Racing 92 for the start of 2018/19, knows they will have to take their performance up yet another level to compete this time around.
And the playmaker believes his game has come on in recent months and that he is ready for this test in his 39th international outing.
“I think it's just how it's panned out almost, that I have added a bit more control to my game,” Russell said.
“Going to Racing has been great for me as a player because I have had to establish myself as a player at 10 and become the decision maker who controls the game.
“For me to go and establish myself there, well it has been great for my career. I've had to do it a few times before - learning a slightly different style of rugby and adapt to new situations – this time it has been good for me.
“The culture's been really good. It's kind of similar to Glasgow at Racing, all of the boys are really close like a family. For me, it's been easy to fit in and a lot of the boys speak good English as well.
“I'm trying to learn French, but being able to chat to them in English helps a lot. It's been easy to settle in and just worry about the rugby.
“For me as a rugby player I have been working hard on doing the basics well like passing and kicking so it makes it easier for the boys to feed off me.
“I am still settling in as a player and the guys are still getting used to me and the things I do that might have been more natural at Glasgow, but we are getting there.”
Scotland v South Africa is on Saturday, November 17 at 5.20pm