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Packing a punch

The reintroduction to the front and back rows of Euan Murray and Dave Denton bulked up Scotland's pack by a combined total of more than three stones yesterday and both expressed confidence they have the physical power to dominate the Springboks.

In Murray's case he said it was a lesson he had learned in defeat four years ago and put into practise two years ago when the two-time world champions suffered a shock setback at Murrayfield.

Then, as now, Scotland were coming off the back of a heavy beating from New Zealand, but Murray believes the world's second best side are a very different proposition to the All Blacks.

"In 2008, when we came so close and actually when we looked at the playback we saw that in a lot of facets [in which we] seemed to be in the team in the ascendancy and really I think we came off that game thinking we should have won," he reckoned. "That gave us a lot of confidence going into 2010, so do some mathematics and we are confident going in."

Murray stressed that he is not underestimating the Springboks, however. "They've maybe been a bit more predictable over the years but they're very good at it, they're very strong, very big and fast," he said.

No-one in the camp knows more about them than Denton who grew up in neighbouring Zimbabwe and he, too, is in little doubt about what to expect.

"These are guys I did grow up watching," said the 22-year-old whose emergence was one of the few encouraging aspects of the 2012 Six Nations campaign.

"As I was growing up they were always in the press and they were the faces I always saw, so in terms of personally challenging myself it's great because it's something I've wanted to do for a while.

"Everyone knows what they're going to do, but saying that you don't go out there assuming they're going to do it. You go out there thinking that they might but they are very talented rugby players so we do know they could mix it up a bit.

"However, if they do go to their normal gameplan, which they probably will, we've got to confront them physically and get them to the ground early. They're big guys. They carry very hard and they're going to try to confront us physically and if we get bullied we'll lose the game."

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