Scotland’s luck runs out against Boks

2012-11-17 21:10

Number 21 didn’t prove to favour brave Scots this time around

Scotland (3) 10South Africa (14) 21

The number 21 has been Scotland’s luckiest against the Boks, but with the three-count rule, they were not so lucky the third time around.

Scotland expected a one-dimensional Springbok side.

When a backline is marshalled by an assured and confident Pat Lambie, who match by match seals the door on Morne Steyn’s Test career, it is a case of 30 seconds, with the difference being that the questions and answers
are difficult to decipher.

It was just sad to see that he was not able to stretch an under-resourced Scottish backline. A customary second-half lapse did not prove costly as the Scots were just not good enough.

In their previous two wins against South Africa in 2002 and 2010, where the Scots triumphed 21-6 and 21-17, respectively, they relied on brute strength and sides that were not able to think on their feet.

The 2002 crew was as useless a Bok side could get, while Peter de Villiers’ looked like they were out to prove that they were moon players.

The following week they rocked up to brutalise England, whom they face next at Twickenham to wrap up their tour. With the Welsh looking out of their depth as they plumbed to a 26-19 loss to Samoa on Friday, a Grand Slam could have been on the cards.

But that’s another story for another year.

To the present, lessons from the 2010 bullying were taken to heart and the big Scottish forwards had a rather muted presence.

Richie Gray, who cracked Bakkies Botha’s invincibility veneer two years ago with his high work rate and malice in backing down to the bully, came off very early, which had an impact on the already-struggling pack.

His absence allowed Eben Etzebeth and Juandre Kruger to toy with Ross Ford and the Scottish lineout at will.

The Boks’ rolling maul, their primary attacking weapon, was used with chilling accuracy and only a dodgy truck-and-trailer call by George Clancy denied the Boks their first try.

A try eventually came in the 20th minute as the Scottish defence disintegrated in the face of a ferocious maul, which allowed Adriaan Strauss to score his maiden try in his 20th Test.

South Africa’s dominance extended to the breakdown and in the backline in general. As influential as David Denton and Kelly Brown were in their brave loss against New Zealand, they were kept quiet by Francois Louw, Duane Vermeulen and Willem Alberts.

Any mistakes in the Scottish half were punished by Lambie, who found his range early.

Juan de Jongh’s sterling work on attack and defence made sure that Nick de Luca could not feed the Scots’ dangerous wings in Tim Visser and Sean Lamont.

The early stages of the second half continued in the same vein as the Bok defence pressurised Scotland into making mistakes. One mistake led to Strauss’ second try.

He stole an intercept a centre would have been proud of as he cantered 22m to the line.

It was a catalyst the Scots needed as replacement Henry Pyrgos crossed from a set lineout move.

One thing the Scots do have in oodles, especially when one would hear their anthem, Flower of Scotland, is passion. But it does not help in terms of execution.

A fluffed lineout in the 62nd minute, when the Bok line looked like it was at breaking point, was symptomatic of the Scots’ struggles.

Even their scrum, with vaunted loosehead killer Euan Murray back, had problems containing the weakest Bok set piece.

There were a few flutters when CJ van der Linde’s binding proved problematic, coupled with Flip van der Merwe’s stupidity at a crucial juncture of the match, going in through the side of a Scottish maul and earning himself a yellow card in the process.

Scorers

» Scotland:
Try – Henry Pyrgos
Conversion – Greig Laidlaw
Penalty – Laidlaw

» South Africa:
Tries – Adriaan Strauss (2)
Conversion – Patrick Lambie
Penalties – Lambie (3)


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