Nathan Hines feels the back-handed compliment paid to the Scotland forwards by South Africa captain John Smit shows Frank Hadden's pack are making their mark on the world stage.
Smit, recognised as one of the finest forwards in the game, described Scotland’s front five as “streetwise” after the world champions edged to a 14-10 victory in the Autumn Test at Murrayfield.
Scotland’s forwards had the upper hand at the breakdown for much of the game with South Africa’s much-vaunted back row of Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger and Juan Smith kept unusually quiet.
It was from a succession of thrusts near the Springbok line by the home pack which set up the chance for Hines to crash over in the first half and help his country build a 10-0 lead going into the break.
However, South Africa fought back in the second period thanks to a succession of penalties which gifted them dominance of territory and possession.
Their solitary try came from Jaque Fourie at the height of their dominance and, allied to nine points from the boot of Ruan Pienaar, it was enough to secure victory.
Smit’s grudging words of praise for Scotland’s forwards was small consolation for Hines, who believes the performance against the Springboks was typical of what they produce these days.
He said: “We’re always playing like that now. We certainly haven’t practised cheating or anything. I just think we put in a really big effort.
“We expected it to be tough up front and it was. I don’t remember many attacks around the fringes of rucks last week against New Zealand but we knew this week there would be and everyone knows South Africa play a direct game. But I thought we handled it well.
“I thought they were there for the taking and we just didn’t take it, that’s the way I look at and I think that’s the way the rest of the boys looked at it.
“You don’t get many opportunities to put away the world champions and we didn’t do it. Maybe because we haven’t been in that situation much in the past two years didn’t help, I don’t know.
“We just need to take the bull by the horns when we’re in that frame of mind. This is more frustrating than when we ran them close over there in 2000 because we led for most of this game and it was a much more solid performance.”