Scotland v. South Africa: McInally relishing challenge of 'most physical team in world rugby'

Stuart McInally breaks past Owen Farrell for Scotland against England at Murrayfield during the Six Nations, Feb. 24, 2018. Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Scotland vice-captain Stuart McInally says South Africa are "the most physical team in world rugby" ahead of the Springboks' visit to Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Scots are fresh from a resounding 54-17 win against Fiji but face a much tougher challenge at home to a resurgent South Africa side, who snatched a stoppage-time win in Paris last weekend.

The Springboks remain buoyed by their win over New Zealand in September and represent the biggest test Scotland have faced at Murrayfield since they were beaten by the All Blacks last year.

"It was good to get our attack sorted last week and score some really good tries, but it's going to be a very different challenge," McInally told ESPN.

"They're probably the most physical team in world rugby so that's a huge challenge, for our forward pack especially but also throughout the team. Rassie Erasmus has certainly had a very positive approach on them and we're now seeing what we always expect from South Africa, a very physical side with good strategy behind them.

"South Africa pride themselves on having an excellent set-piece, there are some very good forwards in there and they've got a really good scrum as well. It's a great challenge for us as a forward pack to test ourselves against arguably one of the best packs in the world.

"I look at Malcolm Marx in particular, he's someone who I've watched a bit of over the last 18 months and I think he's an exceptional player. So he's going to be a big threat to us in terms of what he offers around the pitch, in attack as well as defence."

Scotland's defeat to New Zealand last year is their only loss in their past nine games at Murrayfield, emphasising the challenge that also faces the away side on Saturday.

Under head coach Gregor Townsend, Scotland have picked up notable wins against Ireland, Wales, Australia and England since the start of 2017, and will be looking to add the Springboks to their list.

"It does give you confidence to know that we have done well over the last nine or ten games. We're proud of that and we're looking to put in another good performance at the weekend," said hooker McInally, who will win his 21st international cap on Saturday.

"We love playing at Murrayfield, especially in front of the crowds that Scottish Rugby has been able to attract recently. It's brilliant and all the players enjoy playing at home.

"We don't speak about it as, 'we're at home so we must win'. We just love playing at home and it's special for us. We just try and put our best game out there and a lot of times at home we've done enough to win, which is fantastic."

A hard-earned win against South Africa would give Scotland a huge confidence boost ahead of a massive 2019. The Scots will get the chance to build upon their recent progress in the Six Nations before they travel to Japan for the Rugby World Cup.

"It's a chance to see where we are at," McInally added. "They're one of the best teams in the world and certainly we've got a massive challenge this week, one we're very excited about but it will be great to see where we are at going into such a big year, it's great that we get to play these teams and playing them at home is even better."

BT is the principle partner of Scottish Rugby. BT Sport will broadcast Scotland's remaining home Autumn Internationals, with live coverage of the clashes against South Africa (this Saturday, BT Sport 2, 5pm) and Argentina (24 November, BT Sport 2, 2.15pm). Watch live on TV and via the award winning BT Sport App. bt.com/sport