I believe the Springboks will beat Scotland but if they don’t it will be because of Scotland’s South African-born and raised scrum coach and former French international prop Pieter de Villiers, writes Mark Keohane.
All the talk this week week has been about the three South Africans in the Scotland team, winger Duhan van der Merwe, prop Pierre Schoeman and replacement prop Ollie Kebble.
But the only South African the Boks would have taken notice of is the scrum coach Pieter de Villiers, who is the best South African tighthead in the professional era, despite doing it for France.
The only thing is the Swartland born and raised MENEER never played for the Boks. He left South Africa as a 20 year-old to travel Europe, ended up in Paris, France, played 70 Tests for France and now determines the potency of the Scotland scrum.
There is some respite for South Africans. De Villiers coached the Boks scrum during the Heyneke Meyer era and he would no doubt be wearing green and gold on Saturday, given his expertise and his friendship with Rassie Erasmus.
Personal circumstance took De Villiers back to Europe in 2018 – and he remains there.
But my, how I wished he played for the Boks and how I wished he was part of the coaching team.
It is a wish, but it is not a reality, but the reality is that De Villiers will be back in Cape Town sooner rather than later and then he and his family will be braaing at my spot and then I (hopefully) can talk about the potency of the Scottish scrum and the joy of a Bok win.
Either way, we are braaing in Vredehoek in 2022.
But right now, in the moment of writing this, I remain cautious of Saturday when the Boks play Scotland at Murrayfield – and the reason is Pieter de Villiers.
Whatever the result, he is one of ours.
And whatever the result, I know I will be celebrating him.