Springboks outclass Scotland 55-6
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AP) — South Africa thumped Scotland 55-6 and impressively showed its depth of rugby talent was a class above the Scots on Saturday.
With the match falling outside of the IRB’s international window, the Springboks were missing seven France-based players while the tourists were without their English Premiership charges, and the gap in quality between the replacements was clear, as South Africa ran in eight unanswered tries.
Flanker Marcell Coetzee, winger Lwazi Mvovo and lock Lood de Jager scored two tries apiece. Willie le Roux and JP Pietersen also got on the scoresheet for the hosts, while Handre Pollard notched five conversions and a penalty on his international debut.
Flyhalf Duncan Weir’s two penalties were as good as it got for Scotland, which found itself outclassed in just about every department.
Although Vern Cotter’s inexperienced side showed a willingness to front up to South Africa’s physical game, it was often guilty of missing tackles and conceding penalties.
That kept the Springboks on the front foot, and the result was never in doubt after they scored three tries in the opening 17 minutes.
Scotland was yet to lay a hand on the ball when Coetzee drove over for South Africa’s first, and although Weir answered with a penalty, the hosts quickly converted a second as Jan Serfontein broke the gain line on the Scottish 22 before the ball was swung wide for Le Roux to go over unopposed in the corner.
When Pollard’s skip pass put Pietersen through a gap for the center to provide Mvovo’s first try and South Africa’s third, it was clear it was going to be a long afternoon for Scotland.
“We knew that playing against the Springboks you’ve got to start well but we were a bit sluggish,” captain Grant Gilchrist said. “There were aspects of the game where we fronted up well, but too often we slipped off tackles, and we can’t do that at this level against this opposition.”
However, the visitors began to disrupt the home side’s game and gain some possession for themselves, and while they were unable to turn it into anything more than another penalty kick, they did prevent South Africa from scoring for the next half an hour.
That spell was broken 10 minutes after halftime when lock Tim Swinson was sent to the sin-bin for holding back South Africa scrumhalf Francois Hougaard off the ball.
South Africa used the resulting penalty to set up a lineout, from which a rolling maul sent Coetzee to his second try in his first international start since November.
Having won in the United States, Canada and Argentina over the past three weeks, it was inevitable that the Scots would tire, and as they did so the floodgates opened with Pietersen bashing his way over, and Mvovo intercepting to gallop away to his second.
As South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer emptied the bench to take his total number of debutants to five, De Jager completed the rout with a brace in the final 15 minutes.
The only downside for Meyer was an ankle injury to first-choice scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, who was replaced by Hougaard in the 29th minute.
“We hope the injury will not prevent him from playing in the Rugby Championship,” Meyer said. “His control of the game is important to us.”
South Africa 55 (Marcell Coetzee 2, Lwazi Mvovo 2, Lodewyk de Jager 2, Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen tries; Handre Pollard 5 conversions, penalty, Marnitz Boshoff conversion), Scotland 6 (Duncan Weir 2 penalties). HT: 19-6