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Scotland 0-28 South Africa
Outclassed Scotland come up well short
ESPN Staff
November 17, 2013
Report Match details
Date/Time: Nov 17, 2013, 15:00 local, 15:00 GMT
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Scotland 0 - 28 South Africa
Attendance: 49278  Half-time: 0 - 21
No scorers Tries: Alberts, le Roux, Oosthuizen, Pietersen
Cons: Lambie 4
Willem Alberts is congratulated after scoring the first try,  Scotland v South Africa, Murrayfield, November 17, 2013
Willem Alberts is congratulated after scoring the first try
© Getty Images
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Three first-half tries put South Africa on course for an easy victory over Scotland at Murrayfield, and although a better second-half performance from the home side prevented what at one stage seemed a possible rout it could not paper over the gulf between the sides.

On a pitch that was unfit for international rugby, Scotland, who did not get into the South African 22 until the 36th minute, were hit from the off by a sustained onslaught and when flanker Willem Alberts bulldozed through after four minutes for the opening score the omens were not good.

Despite some determined defence things only got worse for the hosts who simply lacked the basic skills to take on the world's No. 2-ranked team. Ruaridh Jackson's slip let in Willie Le Roux for a second on 29 minutes before the fullback played in JP Pietersen for a third a minute later to leave Scotland trailing 21-0 after Pat Lambie converted all three scorers.

Another Jackson error soon saw South Africa run in a fourth try 13 minutes after the break as replacement prop Coenie Oosthuizen barged over from a line-out to complete a resounding defeat for Scott Johnson's men.

Match Analysis

  • Man of the Match: Willie Le Roux floored Australia twice inside three first-half minutes, first with his breakaway try and then setting up JP Pietersen for South Africa's third almost from the re-start. Good distribution throughout
    Key moment: The ease with which Willem Alberts ploughed through the Scotland defence for the first score gave warning this was not going to be nip and tuck, sending a message to the Scots they were in for a wretched afternoon in the rain
    Hero: Few to note, and although South Africa were under the cosh more for the final third of the game, Scotland's defence deserves a collective pat on the back. They looked most vulnerable when attacking; two tries come from counterattacks and a third from a lineout following one
    Villain: The pitch was atrocious - a grass-root gnawing worm was blamed - and scrums were a mess as players struggled to get any grip. When will the authorities realise a good surface matters as much as all the other trivia they worry about?
    Talking point: The communication shambles between ref and TMO near the end caused a three-minute delay while a review was turned into a mini-series. If the technology exists to allow the USA to spy at will on European leaders' phones, surely it is possible for a man in the stand to communicate with the man in the middle
    Play of the game: Pietersen's try on the half-hour - South Africa's second in as many minutes - was class. Le Roux broke down the middle, saw Pietersen steaming down the wing, chipped with perfection and despite being at full speed Pietersen bent, scooped the ball and his momentum took him over the line. Game over

It was a far cry from the sides' last meeting in June, when Scotland were beaten but not unbowed as they went down 30-17 having led by 11 points early in the second half. That Nelspruit collapse was sparked by Jim Hamilton's needless yellow card and discipline was the order of the day as Johnson sent out his Dark Blues side to a sorry Murrayfield pitch weakened by a parasitic bug.

The breakdown was an area in particular where controlled aggression would be required, especially with the visitors recalling Toulon's Heineken Cup-winning lock Bakkies Botha to their second row after a two-year absence. But that control lasted just three minutes.

After absorbing some early pressure, Nick De Luca suffered a rush of blood to the head as he illegally dived into a ruck from the side to concede a penalty which the Springboks put out for a line-out inside the Scots' five-yard line. Hooker Adrian Strauss hit his mark from the set-piece and Alberts barged his way over for the opening score. Fly-half Lambie did the necessary with the conversion to hand the visitors the perfect start.

Scotland were having to defend for their lives and the tackle count soon read 41-5 in their favour after little more than 10 minutes. Lambie missed with his first penalty attempt after a quarter of an hour but the traffic continued to go in one direction only.

Having survived further losses, Scotland looked like they were finally ready to march forward. But after two phases of promising stuff Jackson lobbed the ball into Le Roux's grasp for the full-back to run in a 50-yard touchdown. Lambie added the extras but before the Dark Blues had even got their breath back 14-0 became 21-0.

Another slip in midfield saw Le Roux get his hands on the ball in the danger zone but this time he booted a clever kick into the corner for Pietersen to slide home a third try, converted again by Lambie.

Stand-in skipper Greig Laidlaw had said before the game that his side were capable of competing against the top Southern Hemisphere nations but that claim was quickly unravelling. On the few occasions on which the Dark Blues did manage to gain territory, if basic errors did not let them down, a lack of inspiration ultimately cost them against a thoroughly well-drilled opposition.

A classic example came 11 minutes into the second half just as Scotland were gaining ground towards the Springboks' 22 when another wild pass from Jackson handed possession to the visitors who kicked upfield, forcing Sean Maitland to boot the loose ball into touch just a yard from the scoreline. Yet again mistakes proved costly as replacement prop Coenie Oosthuizen profited from the resulting line-out to barge over for another score, while Lambie converted again.

It was no surprise that Jackson's errors at fly-half soon became too much for Johnson, who replaced him with Duncan Weir. Johnnie Gray was the next man to join the action for the home side but the Glasgow lock was denied the chance of lining up beside his brother Richie for his first cap as the British and Irish Lion was the man selected to make way.

The visitors were forced to play out the remaining 10 minutes with 14 men after losing replacement flanker Marcell Coetzee to the sinbin after irking French referee Jerome Garces with his persistent infringements.

But there was still time for the home side to suffer one last kick in the teeth when Max Evans was denied a late consolation try after Bryan Habana got a hand to Weir's grubber kick.

Coenie Oosthuizen scores South Africa's fourth try © Getty Images
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