The Springboks got their Rugby World Cup defence off to a solid start as they comfortably saw off the challenge of Scotland 18-3 at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Sunday evening.
The Boks put on a respectable effort, allowing Scotland few chances to score, which was the deciding factor, but they will be disappointed in their finishing once again because they left several points on the field.
The South African team had a solid start to the game with some early possession in the Scottish half and 22m, but they were unable to take advantage as the Scotland defence stood firm.
Bok flyhalf early on, Manie Libbok had a chance to score, but his shot from just outside the goal posts was wide. He was on target from in front a few minutes later, though, as the Boks established a 3-0 lead after 12 minutes, and he doubled the lead with a second consecutive penalty after 24 minutes.
Next, Scotland had two excellent opportunities to score tries, but right-wing Darcy Graham failed to complete a pass and Bok right-wing Kurt-Lee Arendse made a superb defensive read to thwart their attack.
However, Scotland came out on top in the second half because of two strong scrum penalties, the second of which allowed flyhalf Finn Russell to score from close to the goal.
After taking a scrum penalty of their own to start the second half, the Boks gave Libbok a long-range attempt at goal, but he missed short and wide. They quickly got into the Scottish 22-meter area, though, and after some strong rushes, Pieter-Steph du Toit was driven over for the game’s first score. Libbok missed the conversion try, putting the score at 11-3 after 46 minutes.
A precise cross kick from Libbok found Arendse out wide who raced into the corner to score three minutes later as the Boks were in again during their counterattack into the Scotland half. Faf de Klerk, the scrumhalf, took over the kicking responsibilities and successfully converted from the touchline to give them two converted touchdowns.
Afterward, the final 20 minutes of play were a furious back-and-forth contest with Scotland creating a few half-chances and the Boks making some exciting breakaway with left wing Cheslin Kolbe and replacement scrumhalf Grant Williams shining. However, neither team was able to score in the dying seconds, and the Boks eventually prevailed easily..
Springboks: Tries – Pieter-Steph du Toit, Kurt-Lee Arendse; Conversion – Faf de Klerk; Penalties – Manie Libbok (2)
Scotland: Penalty: Finn Russell