5 talking points: Scotland v Springboks

Handre Pollard on the charge... (Gallo Images)
Handre Pollard on the charge... (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 26-20 win over Scotland in Edinburgh:

1. Siya Kolisi headbutt

I almost thought my eyes had deceived me when I spotted what appeared to be a headbutt by Springbok captain Siya Kolisi in the 30th minute.

The incident was shared several times on social media and it became apparent that the back of Kolisi’s head had made contact with the face of Scotland centre Pete Horne.

Yes, Kolisi was pinned to the floor by Horne and no doubt frustrated, but to retaliate in the manner in which he did was not on, especially not for the captain of the Springboks.

For me it was a clear headbutt and it beggars belief that he was not cited by World Rugby.

2. Willie le Roux yellow card

Another big talking point was the yellow card dished out to Springbok fullback Willie le Roux in the 45th minute.

Le Roux attempted to intercept a Scotland pass but knocked the ball on the process.

Most pundits agreed that Le Roux went for the intercept and had every opportunity to catch it.

However, French referee Romain Poite thought otherwise and decided to send Le Roux off for 10 minutes.

In my view, it was not a deliberate knock-down by Le Roux.

3. Bok halfbacks steal the show

Springbok halfbacks Embrose Papier and Handre Pollard were on song at Murrayfield on Saturday night.

Scrumhalf Papier, who was making his first Test start, impressed with his distribution - according to the official statistics he made more than a pass a minute (80 in 78 minutes on the field), while his tactical kicking was sound. He also played a key role in the build-up to Jesse Kriel’s opening try by carefully adjusting his running angle to outfox the Scottish defence.

Flyhalf Pollard, who was the official man-of-the-match, also played a significant role in Kriel’s try when he broke through from inside his own half.

Pollard confidently took the ball up to (or over) the advantage line several times and looked assured when he landed his first five kicks at goal, before misfiring with the latter two...

4. Bok set pieces top notch!

The Springboks were flawless in the set-pieces and it laid the foundation for their victory.

The lineout woes of recent times appear to be a thing of the past - the Boks won all 11 of their own lineouts, while also stealing one Scotland ball.

The Boks also had the upper hand at scrum time, winning possession on all four of their own scrums, while the Scots won only four of six on their own ball.

Starting props Steven Kitshoff (loosehead) and Frans Malherbe (tighthead) are rock solid and got the better of their respective opposite numbers WP Nel and Gordon Reid.

5. A future ‘supersub’ role for Jantjies?

Elton Jantjies has had several opportunities to cement his place as the Springbok starting No 10 but failed to take them.

Pollard is now the incumbent but Jantjies has impressed in recent times as a substitute, with Pollard moving to inside centre.

On Saturday, Jantjies came on in the 56th minute and looked composed as the Boks closed out the game.

Jantjies also calmly slotted the final crucial penalty when Pollard had lost a bit of confidence off the tee.

The Lions pivot is slowly regaining his confidence and perhaps this “supersub” role will define his future in a Bok jersey.

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