Matfield: Boks focused solely on beating Scots

SOUTH AFRICA hope that a turbulent week, which began with two players being sent home for failing drugs tests, will end with their Grand Slam mission three-quarters complete later today.

The 2007 world champions take on Scotland seeking a third victory on tour, with a clash against England at Twickenham to come.

Wing Bjorn Basson and hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle reported positive tests for a banned stimulant following the Ireland game, and were suspended and sent home on Monday. Basson was due to return home anyway because of an ankle injury, and he was joined by Bryan Habana, who suffered a broken hand in training on Tuesday.

Springboks captain Victor Matfield does not believe the last seven days have been too difficult for his side to handle, however. He said: “When you play for the Springboks every week is a big week; there is always a big challenge to face. So no, I don’t think that this week has been different or bigger than any other weeks.

“We are not allowing anything to deflect our focus, we are focusing only on beating Scotland on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Joe Ansbro says he is solely focused on delivering a good performance as he prepares to make history and become the first black rugby player to represent Scotland.

The Northampton back will line up for his Test debut at Murrayfield, replacing the injured Max Evans in a starting XV showing five changes from the one beaten 49-3 by New Zealand last weekend.

Ansbro places no particular emphasis on the landmark and is merely relishing the opportunity to tackle the world champions.

“The way I’ve been brought up, throughout my entire life, it’s never been an issue. For me, this is just all about playing for Scotland and putting in a good performance. It’s the proudest moment in my rugby career and with the right performance, it will mean a lot more than that.”

Ansbro joins captain Rory Lawson, Scott MacLeod, Nathan Hines and Nikki Walker in being promoted to the starting line-up, with Kelly Brown switching from blindside flanker to number eight.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox