South Africa wing Makazole Mapimpi scored two tries but it was the tourists’ forward dominance that laid the platform for a resounding 30-15 victory over Scotland in the autumn international series match at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The Springbok pack put in a powerful performance at the set-piece and breakdown in an impressive show of brute force. Elton Jantjies (3), Handre Pollard (2) and Frans Steyn all kicked penalties as the Scots were forced into frequent infringements.
Home captain Stuart Hogg scored two excellent tries to become the country’s joint-top all-time try scorer, while flyhalf Finn Russell added a penalty and a conversion but also missed a number of simple shots at goal.
The world champion Boks, who trailed 10-8 at halftime, made it back-to-back wins in the autumn series after defeating Wales last weekend and finish against England at Twickenham next weekend, while Scotland will host Japan.
“I thought Scotland were good today. It was a tight game as usual,” Bok captain Siya Kolisi told reporters. “I was so happy with the team to stay disciplined and keep adding to the scoreboard.
“We were able to go back to what we know in the second half. Every time we carry we go in as hard as we can. The physicality was always the ultimate thing for us.”
The teams traded penalties before the visitors, who had director of rugby Rassie Erasmus reprise his controversial role as water carrier, hit the front as they fed off some scrappy Scotland play with ball in hand.
Centre Lukhanyo Am won the turnover and, as the ball went wide, the electric Mapimpi raced down the touchline to score a try.
Scotland hit back off some poor ball retention from the visitors and showed good hands down the left wing as Hogg went over for a converted score that gave his side the halftime lead.
However, South Africa turned it up a notch in the second half as their vaunted ‘Bomb Squad’ came off the bench to add fresh forward power that Scotland simply could not counter.
They hit the front again three minutes into the second period when Am won another turnover and centre Damian de Allende broke between two defenders before feeding the master finisher Mapimpi to score his second try and 19th since making his test debut in 2018.
Jantjies extended the lead to 11 points with two penalties as the Boks’ forward power forced Scotland into infringing in their own half but the hosts stayed in the contest with a second try for Hogg after an excellent move from an attacking line-out.
At that stage they trailed by six points but the Scots missed three more attacking lineouts in quick succession on their own throw in a momentum-killer and the visitors finished stronger in the last 15 minutes, winning almost every contest.
“I’m gutted because we went in at halftime and felt like we were fully in control of that game,” said Hogg, who moved level with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger on 24 tries for Scotland.
“We challenged ourselves to come out in the second half and make the most of it. Unfortunately, we were second best at times. We’ve almost shot ourselves in the foot and it hurts. Basic parts of our game let us down and it’s cost us.”