After a narrow first period, the South Africans gained momentum to make a successful start to the World Cup by winning (18-3) against the Scots on Sunday in Marseille.
40 minutes to score the opponent, 40 more to score points. This is how to sum up South Africa’s victory against Scotland (18-3), Sunday, September 10 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. For their entry into the running in this World Cup, the defending champions relied on an extremely rough first period if not prolific (6-3) to wash out the Scots and accelerate thereafter.
With two tries scored, the Springboks had a successful start to the tournament.
We grant you, it is not the most aesthetic style. But how effective it is! This rough game, a hallmark of the Springboks for years, took them to the roof of the world in 2019, and you had to be crazy to imagine them denying themselves.
With the ball (55% of the time), these are incessant charges to exhaust the opponent. And without the leather, a constant pressure that does not leave the slightest respite to said rival. And if possible in the opposing camp, where 60% of the game took place and in which South Africa recovered 13 balls.
The style opposition has kept its promises
Scottish maestro Finn Russell was deprived of his magic wand by opposing peaks to cut him off from his support. This opposition of style, between the South African inside-out and the inefficiency of Scottish sparring lasted a period. It’s both small, but important enough to leave The Thistle’s hopes intact. After all, what if winger Darcy Graham had given his outside support a ready-made try on a perfect game launch (34th)?
Better not to miss this opportunity. Pieter-Steph Du Toit was much more pragmatic in potentially materializing the domination of his team (47th, 11-3). The South African racing car had started the second and could venture into less conventional fantasies but expected of their wishes by its wingers, and by an audience at the Vélodrome who were not spoiled the day before.
Scotland condemned to exploit
In this regard, Kurt-Lee Arendse has been served. With a masterful diagonal with the foot, dead leaf and blind, Manie Libbok made the gesture of the match – and probably this start of the World Cup – to send his helmeted winger into the in-goal and punish the Scots a second time (51st, 18-3).
Still as clumsy even in a disjointed and pleasant last third of the match, the Thistle finished with three small points, a very meager record when you crossed the advantage line 26 times and beat 22 defenders. Not precise enough with the ball, Scotland mostly faltered without it, conceding 51 crossings to the South Africans who could have scored one or two more tries and glimpsed the offensive bonus. There was none of that, but the Boks will easily be content with that. On the other hand, it will take a feat on October 7 against Ireland, the world’s leading nation, for Scotland, fifth nation in the World Rugby rankings but not varnished by the draw, to reach the quarters.