SOUTH AFRICA MUSCLED their way to 28-0 win over Scotland at Murrayfield in conditions that were far from ideal for flowing rugby.
The huge power advantage Heyneke Meyer’s men had over their Scottish counterparts was obvious inside the opening four minutes, which ended with flanker Willem Alberts barreling over for a try following excellent play by his pack in the tight.
That early score encouraged the South Africans towards a dominance of possession, but Scotland managed to hold them out until the 29th minute, when Willie le Roux sprinted over from the half-way line. Frustratingly for Scott Johnson, that score came after Scotland’s first promising attacking spell, which ended with Sean Maitland spilling the ball to allow the ‘Boks fullback to benefit.
Le Roux created a third try for the visitors just two minutes later, when he split the ragged Scotland defensive line before dinking an intelligent chip into the path of JP Pietersen. The experience wing finished and when Pat Lambie added his third conversion, South Africa were 21-0 out in front.
With the Murrayfield pitch cutting up in alarming fashion, the playing surface was in poor condition for the second half, but that didn’t stop the ‘Boks from powering over for a trademark maul try in the 52nd minute, with replacement prop Coenie Oosthuizen the man to get the credit for a pack effort.
David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images.
A yellow card to Marcel Coetzee was followed by a long delay to deal with a serious-looking injury to Francois Louw in the closing stages. When play resumed, substitute wing Max Evans almost pulled a try back for the Scots from a kick through, but the TMO ruled that they would remain scoreless in what was a dominant and comprehensive victory for the touring Springboks.
After his pack’s weak display yesterday, Joe Schmidt may be glad that he doesn’t have to plan for an encounter with South Africa. Instead, Meyer’s men move on to Paris for what could be a real slug-fest against France. Les Bleus restored some confidence of their own yesterday by beating Tonga 38-18.
However, they will need an excellent performance if they are to match the sheer brawn and aggression of the South Africans. Today in Murrayfield, there was yet another demonstration of how effective those qualities are when teamed up with a high degree of organisation.
Scotland’s high error count certainly played a major role in the result, but Meyer’s men did exactly what they needed to do to win. It may not always be great to watch, but this ‘Boks team is a powerful force.