Although the Springboks go into the tournament in red-hot form, assistant coach Mzwandile Stick is wary of the threat posed by the Finn Russell-inspired Scots.
However, he believes that the summer warm-up matches against New Zealand – a defeat and a victory – have given South Africa a good idea of what kind of test they will face at the hands of Gregor Townsend’s fast-paced team.
“Scotland are in a good space and they are playing with confidence,” said Stick, speaking from South Africa’s base in Toulon. “They also have Finn Russell at number 10, who is probably one of the best playmakers (around).
“Looking at our preparation though, we’ve played against the All Blacks twice this year in the build-up to the World Cup which was good for us.
“Scotland tend to spread the ball a lot – much like New Zealand – and they are certainly one of the best attacking teams currently, so it will be important for us to enforce our game plan on them.”
South Africa have a good historical record against Scotland and have won each of the last seven meetings between the teams. The Scots’ last victory over the Boks was at Murrayfield in autumn 2010, but Stick insists that is irrelevant in relation to this weekend’s box-office showdown in Marseille.
“What happened between us and Scotland in the past doesn’t count anymore,” he said. “If we are not at our best, it could be a long day at the office. We must pitch up mentally and physically if we want to win the game.
“As any other team in the competition, we want a positive start to the World Cup. A win would put us in a good space. So, we’ll go out there and give everything to achieve that. The key for us is to keep improving and to build momentum.”