Sunday, November 21, 2010
Scotland put an end to South Africas Grand Slam hopes as they claimed a famous 21-17 win in the driving rain of Murrayfield on Saturday. The flow of the match was hampered by poor conditions, but the hosts handled them better and came out deserving victors.
After being hammered by New Zealand the week before, a bruised Scotland shouldnt have been too tricky for the Springboks, but tactical naivet and poor execution proved their downfall as they were beaten at Murrayfield for the first time since a similar performance in 2002.
There was no Plan B, and as has become fairly common under the reign of Peter De Villiers, a one dimensional Plan A. "These conditions level everything out but well done to Scotland," said an unhappy Victor Matfield. "Everyone wants us to play more expansive, but with the weather the way it was it didn't allow us to.
"You can't play a lot of rugby, so it was all about the guys making the least mistakes and putting the other team under pressure," he said.
They did manage to score the only try of the game, through Willem Alberts, but it was Dan Parks who took control and scored all of Scotlands 21 points which included six penalties and a drop goal. Coach Andy Robinson was thrilled with the result.
"We're hugely delighted with the victory. This victory is achieved by the players and the mindset they've brought into the week that they're able to take on anybody."
"I think a number of young players have come of age," said Robinson. "I thought Richie Gray really stepped up, particularly when Scott MacLeod went off. The pressure he put on the South African lineout, his defensive work and the hits he put in, but also some of his ball carries."
Springbok coach De Villiers was naturally disappointed and cited the weather and a few key calls by Stuart Dickinson as some of the reasons for the loss. "Scotland made use of it much better than us on the night, so well done to them," he said, referring to the constant downpour.
"The momentum at the beginning was with us and we were quite comfortable but we were nailed for a few things on our ball and it gave them a lift. Some of the refereeing decisions were puzzling, however we did not respond the way we should have done," he added.
Giant killers Scotland did the same thing to Australia last year in similar conditions.
Scotland The Brave upset the Wallabies at Murrayfield