Boks' Grand Slam hopes end

Edinburgh - Scotland produced one of the most stunning fightbacks in their history to wreck the European grand slam quest of the world champion Springboks with a deserved 21-17 victory at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Not even the most optimistic home fan expected a win in the wake of the previous weekend's 49-3 slaughter at the hands of the All Blacks.

But coach Andy Robinson and playmaker Dan Parks orchestrated the revival at rain-lashed Murrayfield which saw them record only their fifth win in 21 meetings with the South Africans.

Parks not only bagged all his side's points, he outshone opposition flyhalf Morne Steyn.

It left Robinson bursting with pride.

"What a difference a week makes," smiled the former England coach.

"Our physicality was superb. They were tough conditions to play in... Scottish conditions.

"The whole side played their part."

His South Africa counterpart Peter de Villiers couldn't disguise his disappointment.

"All credit to Scotland, but we only had ourselves to blame.

"Some of the refereeing decisions were puzzling, however we did not respond the way we should have done.

"We now have to pick ourselves up physically and mentally for the challenge of playing England next weekend."

Jubilant Scotland skipper Rory Lawson - who was standing in because of injuries to Chris Cusiter and Mike Blair - said it was all about guts.

"The conditions were brutal out there - but we showed we can perform against anyone," said the scrum-half.

"This was all about guts and togetherness. I am so, so proud."

Man of the match John Barclay said that they had been determined to show the supporters that they were not an easy touch for the southern hemisphere sides.

""We were so bitterly disappointed after last week. We were determined to show a different side to ourselves this week and this is a step in the right direction.

"We knew we could do something."

It took the visitors less than three minutes to edge in front, thanks to a 30m penalty by Morne Steyn, awarded for offside in midfield.

The stream of penalties against the hosts continued as they were put under increasing pressure.

Back came Morne Steyn to find the target from dead in front.

The Scots eventually broke off the shackles and their first attack enabled them to repair some of the damage with a Parks strike.

Parks was quickly back in the spotlight to level the scores with an opportunist drop-goal in the wake of a powerful crash-ball charge by Sean Lamont.

They stepped up the tempo with a steepler from Parks sparking panic among the Bok back-ranks.

Gio Aplon couldn't hold the catch and when the South Africans offended at the scrum, Parks stepped up to give his side the lead.

Even better was to come from the stand-off when he banged over another penalty on the half-hour mark.

Having been under the cosh for a sustained period, South Africa recovered their composure to narrow the margin with another easy Morne Steyn penalty.

The action was disjointed and scrappy after the restart and it was South Africa who struck first with Morne Steyn's fourth target-finder tying up the contest.

Bok fullback Zane Kirchner was lucky to avoid a yellow card when he halted Richie Vernon with a shoulder-first challenge.

But seconds later the Scots fans forgot the controversy as they watched Parks regain the lead.

As conditions worsened, the Boks became more rattled and frustrated - captain Victor Matfield making it clear he was not impressed with a series of penalty decisions.

And from the next of them, Parks gleefully stretched Scotland's advantage to six points with 15 minutes left.

Even better was to come from Parks when he repeated the dose with his most straightforward kick of the afternoon.

However, the tension-level surged when substitute Willem Alberts crashed through a lineout gap for the only try.

But the relief of the Scots was plain to see as Patrick Lambie's conversion flew wide.

Teams:

Scotland

15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Max Evans, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Kelly Brown, 7 John Barclay, 6 Nathan Hines, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen

Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Moray Low, 18 Richie Vernon, 19 Ross Rennie, 20 Greig Laidlaw, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Chris Paterson

South Africa:
15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Francois Steyn, 12. Jean de Villiers, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Morne Steyn, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Juan Smith, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5. Victor Matfield, 4. Bakkies Botha, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Beast Mtawarira

Replacements: 16. Adriaan Strauss, 17. CJ van der Linde, 18. Flip van der Merwe, 19. Willem Alberts, 20. Ruan Pienaar, 21. Patrick Lambie, 22. Adi Jacobs
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