South Africa subdues spirited Scotland to win 30-15
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — South Africa scored 13 points in the first 15 minutes of the second half and then leaned on its dominant scrum and forward pack to subdue a spirited Scotland and win their rugby test 30-15 on Saturday.
Wing Makazole Mapimpi collected both the Springboks’ tries, with his second coming in that decisive spell after halftime, to help the world champion to a second win in two games on its end-of-year tour to Britain.
Scotland captain Stuart Hogg also crossed for two tries to first put the Scots ahead 10-8 at halftime, and then close the gap to 21-15 midway through the second half.
Hogg pumped his arms in celebration after his second try, and nearly 70,000 at a packed Murrayfield responded with a roar in the hope of a famous Scottish comeback.
But Scotland, in search of a first win over South Africa since 2010, couldn’t hold its own against the Springboks’ pack in the last 20 minutes, and the roars faded.
South Africa added three late penalties as the forwards turned the screw to win a series of penalties for their team at scrum time and at the breakdown.
Replacement flyhalf Handre Pollard kicked two of those penalties and replacement fullback Frans Steyn blasted the other over from about 50 meters to end Scotland’s challenge.
After beating Wales and now Scotland, the Springboks face England next weekend at Twickenham for a chance at three wins from three and a satisfying end to their first full year of rugby since winning the 2019 World Cup.
South Africa was in charge of the first 20 minutes of both halves but Scotland rebounded brilliantly in the first 40.
Having held out South Africa’s big ball carriers close to their tryline in the opening skirmishes, Scotland worked a turnover to South African-born wing Duhan van der Merwe and his 50-meter breakaway set up a penalty for Finn Russell to give Scotland the lead.
Mapimpi sped clear for his first try in the 28th minute.
But Scotland used the power of Van der Merwe again to good effect when he caught a cross-kick from Russell and held off South African defenders to pass inside to Chris Harris. Harris’ pass was half-blocked, and Hogg responded to scoop up the loose ball and score.
South Africa, with director of rugby Rassie Erasmus back in the contentious role of on-field water carrier, reclaimed the lead straight after the break and didn’t give it up again.
This time, center Damian de Allende made a burst and put Mapimpi clear. Elton Jantjies, starting in place of regular No. 10 Pollard, kicked the Springboks 21-10 clear.
Scotland fought again when Van der Merwe came off his wing to draw two South African defenders and send an overhead basketball-type pass to Hogg for the fullback’s second try in the 58th minute.
With it, Hogg equaled the Scottish record with his 24th test try.
But while the gap was closed to six points and the crowd hoped for another change of momentum, South Africa didn’t allow it this time.
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