Clinical Boks blank hapless Scots
South Africa produced a clinical performance to secure a 28-0 win over Scotland in Edinburgh on Sunday.
It was a dreary day in Scotland on yet another disgraceful field with yet another yellow card, which ensured that there were sanctionary cards in at least six of the Tests this weekend.
It appears as if a decree had gone out to referees to keep the playing numbers down.
To add to it all, the match became a foregone conclusion with 76 minutes to play with precious little to enthuse the big crowd.
South Africa were just too strong.
They dominated the first half when the rain came down and scored three tries.
Scotland had 70 perent of the possession in the second half and South Africa scored just one try.
South Africa had a penalty kick at goal and missed it..
Scotland had no kicks at goal. But then both sides opted to go for line-outs and tries instead of penalty attempts.
Mind you the penalty count had its interest.
When South Africa played Scotland in South Africa in June with a French referee, the penalty count was 19-8 in South Africa's favour.
When South Africa played Scotland in Edinburgh with a (different) French referee, the penalty count was 13-8 in Scotland's favour.
There was a nasty moment near the end when Jim Hamilton charged into Francois Louw at a tackle/ruck. His shoulder hit Louw and, after long and careful treatment, Louw was taken off on a mobile stretcher, giving a thumbs-up sign as he went.
Apparently Hamilton's charge was considered legal.
Penalties got Scotland close to the South African line from time to time, though they did not look like scoring till a grubber towards the South African line by Duncan Weir was chased by Max Evans and Bryan Habana. The TMO was consulted at great length. After three and a half minutes of confusing exchanges between the TMO and the referee the right decision was eventually made.
Not great on a dreary day in Edinburgh with the temperature dropping.
The Scots found it hard to win line-outs and then towards the tail of the match when Bismarck du Plessis came on the Springboks lost four line-outs out of five, two of them overthrows that set the Scots attacking.
The Springboks attacked from the start in one-pass phases. The Scots, to their credit, stood up well to them repeatedly bringing the big men to ground.
The Springboks had two five-metre line-outs and scored from each of them, throwing deep to Duane Vermeulen and then switching the maul to the left for tries, the first by impressive Willem Alberts in the first half, the second by replacement Coenie Oosthuizen in the second.
But they did have the only bright spark of the match – Willie le Roux who scored a try and made a try, the two tries two minutes apart.
The Scots had line-outs close in. Once they managed a bit of go-forward.
The Scots wore jerseys that were mainly white with some sky-blue when the anthems were sung, the big gun fired, the countdown called with enthusiasm and Patrick Lambie kicked off.
The Springboks did their phases, a penalty at a tackle – one of 14 in the match – have South Africa five-metre line-out and Alberts's try – 7-0 after four minutes.
Jaque Fourie caught a Springbok up-and-under and JP Pietersen had two promising bursts, but the brave Scottish defence held.
Scotland went on the attack and were in the Springboks half when a limp pass from Ruaridh Jackson went to Le Roux and off he went on a 65-metre run to the posts – 14-0 after 30 minutes.
Scotland kicked off and the Springboks went right. Le Roux broke inside Duncan Taylor, swerved past Sean Maitland and was racing on as Scots converged. Le Roux looked to his right and – left-footer – he kicked infield and Pietersen swooped on the ball and stumbled over for a try – 21-0 after 32 minutes.
Just before half-time young Frans Malherbe went off in discomfort. Coenie Oosthuizen replaced him. Oddly enough it was not a match of many scrums – just nine in all.
At half-time Marcell Coetzee replaced Willem Alberts, who was suspect for the game because of injury but had had an immense impact during his 40 minutes.
The Scots were attacking in the second half when their hands again failed them. Habana got the ball and hoofed it downfield as Fourie chased. In desperation Tommy Seymour flykicked it out for a five-metre line-out to the Springboks and, using the same procedure as they did in the first half, they scored a try. This time Oosthuizen was the man who grounded it – 28-0 after 54 minutes, which was the final score.
It was after this that the Springboks made changes. Eben Etzebeth replaced Bakkies Botha, whose return match had not been impressive. Scotland made changes, too, one which brought a huge cheer – when idol Richie Gray was replaced at lock by his teenage brother, Jonny, who thus earned his first cap for Scotland – a Test lock at 19.
With 10 minutes to play Marcell Coetzee was yellow-carded and the Scots attacked but a robust tackle by Pietersen drove David Denton into touch.
With three minutes to go there was the long and confusing TMO discussion and with two minutes to go the Springboks won a line-out and did their tiny phases till time was up and Morné Steyn, on at 75 minutes, kicked the ball out.
Man of the Match: He was the most creative spark in the game and wins our award – Willie le Roux.
Moment of the Match: This goes to the same man. Willie le Roux's break, swerve and delicate kick that gave JP Pietersen his try in his 50th Test.
Villain of the Match: JP Pietersen was more than just silly when he pushed David Denton's face into the ground, but Jim Hamilton's charge into Francois Louw did damage and wasn't his only thuggish act.
For South Africa:
Tries: Alberts, Le Roux, Pietersen, Oosthuizen
Cons: Lambie 4
Yellow card: Marcel Coetzee (South Africa, 71 – repeated infringements at the breakdown)
Scotland: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 David Denton, 7 John Barclay, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Moray Low, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 John Beattie, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Max Evans.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux: 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzère (France), Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)