Former British and Irish Lions forward Peter Wright insists the game in which Scotland were hammered by South Africa at the weekend was a “ridiculous” fixture to take on.
The Scots were crushed 55-6 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday at the end of what had been a largely successful summer tour.
Ahead of the Springboks encounter, new head coach Vern Cotter had seen his charges secure three straight wins, against the USA, Canada and Argentina, that hinted at better times ahead.
However, the thumping loss to South Africa, who are in Scotland’s group at next year’s World Cup in England, was one match too far with a tired-looking squad.
Scotland were also minus a host of regular starters because the match fell outwith the IRB’s fixture window and Wright said: “It was undoubtedly a second, and sometimes third-string set of Scottish players but it was still a bad defeat at the end of a very long, hard season.
“It just seemed it was a ridiculous fixture to take. The first three, you’re sort of tied in with the IRB, they put the schedule together for them. But this fourth match of the tour was very much organised by the SRU.
“To play it, knowing they were not going to have eight, nine, ten of their best players available because they’re playing club rugby in France or England, it just seemed a really strange fixture to take on.”
Despite ending the tour on a sour note, Wright believes that Cotter will still have been able to take some positives from the five-week tour that saw him use 43 players across the four Tests.
The 21-times capped prop added on the BBC: “Even though we didn’t play particularly well, we started to learn to win playing badly.
“That is something we have criticised Scotland for when they couldn’t buy a win at some stages. From somewhere, they managed to find victories, which is good.”
Meanwhile South Africa have confirmed that veteran scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has been ruled out of the Rugby Championship with an ankle problem.
The 32-year-old picked up the injury in the victory against Scotland.
An MRI scan in Pretoria after he limped out of the Test revealed the extent of the damage and he will be missing for the next three months with an anterior syndesmotic injury.
“It’s a massive blow to lose yet another world-class player and a key player due to an injury,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said in a South African Rugby Union (SARU) media release yesterday.
“Fourie has been brilliant since he returned to the Springboks last year and he will be missed.”
Meyer added: “However, this provides an opportunity for other scrum-halves to prove themselves and make the step up when the opportunity arises.”
South Africa, who finished second behind New Zealand in last year’s competition, begin their 2014 campaign at home to Argentina on 16 August.