None of the 26 meetings between Scotland and South Africa have ended in a draw but one man who would be quite happy with that outcome this evening is Glasgow loosehead prop Oli Kebble.
The Durban-born 26-year-old will be in the stands at BT Murrayfield this afternoon with some Warriors team-mates and old school friends from South Africa and will be acting as the neutral zone of the group.
“I’m going to the game to support my mates and I have some on both sides of the coin. I’m not quite sure what result I’ll be happy with but I just hope my friends on either side have good games,” he said.
Kebble, whose Glasgow career is finally up and running after a first season blighted by foot and ankle injuries, played with a number of today’s South Africa side as part of the Baby Boks side who won the World Rugby Under-20 championship on home soil in 2012. He also knows players like Damian de Allende and Francois Louw from his time at Stormers, when he shared a Cape Town house with Scotland centre Huw Jones.
Kebble will be wishing the Glasgow boys in the home team well but admits that he is pleased to see South Africa surging back as a global power.
“I think it’s great to see the Springboks be a more dominant threat, it’s good for world rugby,” he said. “I think it will be tough for Scotland this weekend. First and foremost the South African pack, including the guys I know in the front row, are really strong.
“if Scotland can stand toe to toe with South Africa up front and be as physical as they are then they have a chance.”
Much has been made of the Springboks’ physicality and Kebble has first-hand experience of the South African rugby culture.
“A lot of South African players bulk up big from a young age and the traditionally the Springboks have relied on setpiece dominance and big forward ball carriers,” he said. “The game is going more mobile, which they are adapting to but they are still one of the more formidable and physical packs.
“Scotland have an equally good backline. South Africa have developed their attacking game and have good threats out wide. Aphiwe Dyantyi, the young Lions wing has come through really well this year. It’s going to be interesting.”
Kebble hopes to catch up with his housemate after the game but appreciates that depends on how this evening unfolds.
“Hopefully I’ll catch up with Huw but he may be the talk of the town after the game and tough to track down. When everyone is finished buying him a beer I might catch up with him,” he said.
Kebble is eager to get back into Guinness Pro14 action next weekend against Cardiff.
“I’m loving it at Glasgow. Last season was frustrating injury wise. This season has been going much better,” he added.
It may be a fair way off in the distance but Kebble admitted that the prospect of coming up against Scotland’s South Africa-born tighthead WP Nel in the 1872 Cup matches against Edinburgh at the turn of the year was on his mind.
“I’ve never played against him but I’ve obviously watched him from when he was at the Cheetahs.
“I’m definitely looking forward to those Edinburgh games. Should be fiery,” added Kebble.
l Thanks to Clyde Travel Management Oli Kebble was available to speak exclusively to The Scotsman. Clyde Travel Management have supported Glasgow Warriors for five years and are responsible for all of the team’s travel arrangements. They will be chartering to Lyon next month for the Heineken Champions Cup match. Places are still available on the team charter for £289 return including transfers. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org