Beating against South Africa on Saturday would eclipse any Scotland triumph of the last two decades, believes Gregor Townsend.

The Scots have conquered England, Wales, Ireland, France and because 2017 in the home, and beaten the Wallabies and Argentina away.

But the head coach states that the Springboks’ form, with wins in New Zealand and France, brings a greater challenge.

“Given what they have done recently, it would most likely be our biggest win of the last few decades,” he said.

“Obviously, the England triumph [25-13 in this season’s Six Nations] stands out as memorable given they had won a lot of matches in succession and that trophy [that the Calcutta Cup] we play makes it much more special.

“I just believe South Africa now are in the top two or three teams from the entire world with how they have played against the top teams on the planet.

‘The largest, strongest guys they can find’

Scotland have ever won five of the 26 Tests against South Africa when Townsend was assistant trainer in 2010, their success .

Townsend believes the Springboks still signify the”number one” challenge physically in world rugby.

But ask any trainer in world rugby which group provides the largest physicality with your forward, it’s South Africa. It always was.

They select the largest, strongest guys they can find.”

Given the likely size of the opposition pack, Townsend believes the strength in reserve that he can call upon in the seat might be a critical element, with the likes of Josh Strauss – impressive as a replacement against Fiji – .

“The seat has had a good iuence in the previous two weeks,” Townsend noted. “In Wales the last 15-20 minutes was our best section of this game, and we all scored 19 points in the last 20 minutes against Fiji.

“To beat one of the top teams from the world, you want an 80-minute performance. You want to be at your best in the start and play in the same amount – and also the same rate – in the end, particularly against a side like South Africa who will wear you down and have huge strength round the set-piece and with their enormous ball-carriers.

“We have to be sure that they’re tired in the last 20 minutes.”

Regardless of the scale of this challenge, Townsend insists Scotland”think we can win”, buoyed by a Murrayfield crowd that has witnessed nine home wins in their last 10 Tests.

“The players have played to their best in those matches and the energy [the crowd] have brought in the home is exceptional,” he added.

“Towards a few of the best teams on the planet, we have seen better performances out of our players. We have risen to the challenge and that is what we’re seeking to do this week play our best.”