South Africa score four unanswered tries to win a fairly one-sided match at Murrayfield
In spite of Bakkies Botha’s assertion that the South Africans saw the Scots as a real threat, it only took the visitors four minutes to open the scoring following a Pat Lambie penalty kick to touch, after pressurising the Scottish defence from the kick off. And indeed, the first half was all South Africa, with Scotland being pinned pack in their own half for the majority of the opening period, with the occasional foray upfield to get the crowd interested. From that penalty lineout, the visiting forwards got themselves organised and drove the home side over their own line for Willem Alberts to score the opener. Lambie kicked the conversion and it was looking like it was going to be a long day at the office for the Scots. Scotland did managed to win a penalty of their own soon after, but following the kick to touch, South Africa regained possession and cleared their lines.
For the next ten minutes, the hosts were hammered from all angles and only superb covering and tackling kept the score at 7-0. But it couldn’t last and just before the half hour, full back, Willie le Roux plucked a Ruaridh Jackson pass out of the air and ran from deep within his own half to score under the posts. Lambie scored again with the kick and it was 14-0 to South Africa. For all of a minute…. Almost straight from the restart, le Roux gained possession and broke through a couple of tackles to make headway up the pitch. Spotting JP Pietersen on the wing, he neatly punted the ball deep into the Scots 22 for Petersen to run onto. With only Jackson to beat, the winger just ploughed through him and slid over the line for the third try. Lambie again secured the kick and 21-0 was the outcome. Scotland did manage win a penalty and force a scrum from the lineout near the South African line close to the break, but it came to naught and referee, Jerome Garces, blew up for half time to end a fairly dismal half for the home support.
The second half started much more brightly for the Scots despite the now incessant rain. Possession was fairly even, but again the visitors made more territorial gains and 12 minutes in they scored their fourth try. Following a lineout win, the South Africans formed themselves into a rolling maul and rolled up to and over the home line, Coenie Oosthuizen being the scorer. Another successful kick from Lambie and the points tally was up to 28 with no reply.
Scotland made a few substitutions and took a bit more of a hold on the match, but in spite of their best efforts, they couldn’t force a way through the opposition’s defence. Indeed, in a another ‘moment of madness’, Duncan Weir tried to repeat Jackson’s earlier loopy – in all senses of the word – pass and it was only a fumble by the intercepting Jean de Villiers that prevented the fifth try. With 10 minutes to go, South Africa’s Marcell Coetzee was binned to give the Scots a fighting chance of a score, but again they could only progress from side to side and the period ends with David Denton being thrown into touch be a defender.
With five minutes left, Francois Louw, was seriously injured and it took several minutes for the medical staff of both sides to care for him and see him safely off the pitch. From the restart, Scotland got their best chance of the match as a kick from Weir put Max Evans in behind the defence. Unfortunately his shadow was Brian Habana, who just beat the Scot to the ball to send it dead. Any other player against Max Evans and it was a try, but….. From the scrum, the South Africans gain possession and fiddle about for a while until the clock ticks over the 80 minutes. Job done, Morne Steyn booted the ball dead to end a miserable day for the home side.
At no point in the match were South Africa put under scoring pressure by an attacking Scots side – apart from Evans’ attempt – and they appeared to take their foot off the gas with 20 minutes left to play. However, on the plus side, at no time during the match did the home side stop trying, either. They were just not good enough on this, and one suspects, any other day to seriously trouble the second best side in the World.