South Africa’s Springboks were made to come from behind to beat Scotland 30-17 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday and set up a match against Samoa next weekend.
The Springboks trailed 6-10 at half time and needed a penalty try and Scotland to lose a player to the sin bin before they took the lead in the 60th minute for the first time.
The visitors Scotland fielded an almost third string team due to injuries and British and Irish Lions call ups but still scored the only try of the first half by centre Matt Scott and captain Greig Laidlaw added a conversion and a penalty.
The Springboks’ first half points came courtesy of flyhalf Morne Steyn, who converted two penalties.
Overall the Springboks display was disjointed and the final score flattered
the hosts. South Africa will now play Samoa in the final of the series in Pretoria
At the start of the match, the South Africans were surprised by a much-improved
performance from Scotland who tested their defence.
The Springboks suffered an early injury blow when flanker Arno Botha was wheeled
off the field in the fourth minutes, for what appeared to be a knee injury.
His departure saw Siya Kolisi receive his first Springbok cap.
The livewire flanker made a strong showing on debut, making a few strong runs
with the ball in hand and put in some hard tackles.
The Scots were rewarded for their spirited assaults on the gain line, coming
away with the first points of the match as captain Greig Laidlaw succeeded with
a penalty in the seventh minute.
Laidlaw, playing in his first Test as captain, was damaging around the fringes
and caught the South Africans sleeping.
Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn levelled the scores in the 13th minute and added
another three points five minutes later to put South Africa in the lead.
It was short-lived as Scotland pierced the Springboks’ defence on the 20-minute
mark with centre Matt Scott finding easy passage past the South African defenders
to score, with Laidlaw converting.
While the Scots were threatening on attack, the hosts were rather toothless
and they looked generally disjointed.
As the teams went into the change rooms for the half-time break, Scotland held
on to a four-point advantage over the Springboks.
Scotland struck another psychological blow shortly after the restart as outside
centre Alex Dunbar touched down in the 43rd minute. Laidlaw converted to extend
his team’s lead to 11 points.
The Boks’ fortunes started to turn in the 49th minute when referee Roman Poite
awarded a penalty try against Scotland for collapsing a maul near the try line,
with Steyn converting.
Poite’s whistle again favoured the Boks three minutes later when Scotland lock
Jim Hamilton was yellow-carded for taking a swipe at Eben Etzebeth.
South Africa took full advantage of having an extra man with JJ Engelbrecht
scoring his five-pointer in the 55th minute.
Fullback Willie le Roux showed his worth as he pulled in defence and gave a
well-weighted pass to Engelbrecht to finish, with Steyn converting to give South
Africa a three-point lead.
With 15 minutes left, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer sent on some fresh legs
using almost his entire bench at the same time.
Bismarck du Plessis and Coenie Oosthuizen replaced Adriaan Strauss and Tendai
Mtawarira followed shortly by Patrick Lambie, Jan Serfontein, Piet van Zyl and
Lambie opened his account in the 75th minute with a penalty conversion to take
South Africa’s score to 23-17.
The Boks finished the match with a final flourish as Serfontein scored his
team’s third five-pointer of the evening. Lambie converted for a flattering
final score of 30-17
Final Score South Africa 30 (6) Scotland (1