Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Bok pack bracing for battle against compatriots in Scotland clash

"We know them well and they are going to be a tough combination."

The Springboks are preparing to face a couple of familiar faces at the front of the Scottish pack when they open their Rugby World Cup campaign at the Stade de Marseille on Sunday evening.

South African props WP Nel and Pierre Schoeman could be tasked by the Scots with leading the charge against their fellow countrymen, as both teams look to get off to the best possible start in the tournament.

Bok prop Ox Nche expects a massive challenge from the two experienced heads and admits that they will need to be at their very best if they are to come out on top in the scrum battle.

“They are pretty tough (Nel and Schoeman). We have played them quite a lot in the URC, so we know them well and they are going to be a tough combination,” Nche said.

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“The Scotland pack as a whole is a good unit to play against and we know we are in for a difficult challenge,” he added.

“With the experience of guys like WP and Pierre it is going to be a good challenge, and who comes out on top could come down to who masters the dark arts best on the day.”

Thrilled to be there

Nche himself is thrilled to be in France with the Boks, ready to try and help them defend their World Cup title after a pectoral muscle injury before the Rugby Championship threatened to rule him out of the running.

The 28-year-old front-row forward made his comeback from injury in the Boks’ warm-up wins over Wales and the All Blacks, along with captain Siya Kolisi, who he admits is a vitally important player in their title defence.

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“It is really exciting to be here. If you had asked if I would be here a month ago I would have said it would be difficult. I had to get myself fit and in playing form. So it has been a pretty tough journey but I am glad I made it and all the effort and sacrifices I have made have been worth it,” said Nche.

“Even when he was injured Siya was still very involved in the team. He was doing a lot of detail work and helping us focus on what to look for in meetings.

“But to have him back on the field practicing, playing and feeling what we need to achieve as a team is massive for us. He is great for team morale and he brings good experience to the group.”

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