Springboks defeat Scotland after strong second half display: Opinion

Springboks defeat Scotland
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A strong second-half display saw the Springboks defeat Scotland 30 points to 15 at a packed Murrayfield on Saturday.

Scorers

Scotland : 15

Tries: Stuart Hogg (2). Conversion: Finn Russell. Penalty: Russell.

South Africa: 30

Makazole Mapimpi(2). Conversions: Elton Jantjies. Penalties:  Janties (3), Handre Pollard (2), Frans Steyn.

Springboks defeat Scotland

Tight first half

The Springboks enjoyed the bulk of possession and territory in the opening twenty minutes. Scotland stood up to them and held them out. It was yet another game where the Springboks struggled to adapt to the referee’s interpretation of the laws as the ruck. What was different this time was that was their decision-making was much improved. Three key decisions helped the Springboks defeat Scotland quite comfortably in the end.

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Dealing with the ruck

After conceding a string of early ruck penalties, the Springboks reduced the number of rucks they competed in. With more selective competing and were rather patient and waited for Scotland to make errors at the breakdown. This worked exceptionally well for them. By the end of the first half, referee Angus Gardner had lost patience with Scotland. The penalty count started building in favour of the Springboks.

With a better picture being presented to the officiating team, replacement front rowers Malcolm Marx and Steven Kitshoff made a real impact in the second half.

Dominant tackling

The Springboks were always going to bring a very tight and aggressive defense to the game. This was especially important when they were not competing at the breakdown. Domination of the tackle and a very strong set-piece negated the threat of Finn Russell. Scotland did try to impose their running game, but with limited success.

The early substitution of the front row

The timing of replacing the starting was a little odd, just a few seconds before the end of the first half. Jacques Nienaber did confirm after the game that replacing the front row early was always in the plan and both sets of front rows know of the plan. This allowed the starting front row to empty the tank in one half and their replacements to maintain the pressure they had already placed Scotland under.

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Improved second half display

The Springboks handled the circumstances well, but we cannot look past how poorly Herschel Jantjies played in that first half. It is part of every young player’s development. They will have a bad day. Saturday was a bad day for Jantjies and he was replaced at half-time by Cobus Reinach. This rotation did help the Springboks settle down a bit with a lower error rate and a bit more speed at scrumhalf.

The hammering tackles took their toll on Scotland. The same can be said of the impact of the Springbok bench. Eben Etzebeth had a fantastic all-round game and was deservedly named the Man of the Match. Siya Kolisi and Lukhanyo Am were possibly not far behind him.

SCOvRSA Notable events:

There were a few notable events that took place on Saturday, some more serious than others.

Siya signing Speedo’s

On the fun side, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was spotted signing a fan’s Speedo!

Mapimpi’s try-scoring

Makazole Mapimpi has scored tries against every Test-playing nation he has played against. The brace he scored on Saturday takes his tally to 19 tries in 24 Tests.

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Frans Steyn’s service

Frans Steyn now holds an interesting record for the Springboks. He has represented his country for a period of fifteen years from his debut to the match on Saturday. It would be a brave person who bets against him calling it a day after seventeen years with a swansong at Rugby World Cup 2023.

The next challenge: ENGvRSA

At the beginning of the tour, many Springbok fans would have accepted a two out of three result as fairly acceptable. That has changed now that they have won against Wales and Scotland and it is only England to come. Saturday’s game at Twickenham is going to be a tasty one that the Springboks will throw everything into.

England v South Africa – Saturday November 20, 3:15pm. Twickenham

 

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