The hours before a game are often filled with excitement and camaraderie as fans head to the stadium filled with beer, good vibes, and lofty expectations.
Well, the beautifully sunny day in Marseille yesterday was no different. Scottish and South African supporters joined together in a wonderful moment to sing the Scottish anthem ‘Flower of Scotland’ upon a packed train heading towards the stadium.
Check out the scenes here:
— Jack Tunney (@JackTunneyRugby) September 10, 2023
The match itself, was much more of a one sided affair.
South Africa demonstrated their trademark excellence as they dominated Scotland in their pivotal opening-round match, securing an essential 18-3 victory. While Scotland exhibited glimpses of their impressive attacking prowess, they struggled to contend with the relentless defensive pressure from the Springboks, which thwarted several promising scoring opportunities.
Leading the charge in defence was Pieter-Steph Du Toit, a backrow player who seems to be returning to the form that earned him the title of World Player of the Year in 2019. Du Toit, along with the formidable Springbok pack, applied immense pace and pressure to stifle Scotland’s magician, Finn Russell, denying him the space to operate effectively. Despite the intense pressure, Russell had his moments and appeared to have unlocked the Springbok defense on a few occasions, only to be met with impressive defensive scrambling by the South Africans.
In a twist of fate, it was the Springboks who capitalized on available space, scoring two well-executed tries that ultimately made the difference in the game. First, Du Toit powered through the Scottish defense from three meters out, with support from his forward teammates, securing the evening’s first try.
Just three minutes later, the Springboks showcased their finesse as Kurt-Lee Arendse, named the player of the match, continued his impressive streak of try-scoring, crossing the try line for South Africa’s second try. After Manie Libbok missed the initial conversion attempt, kicking duties were entrusted to scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, who successfully added the extra two points.
These would be the final points of the match as both teams engaged in a back-and-forth battle without creating many additional scoring opportunities.
South Africa’s next challenge will be against underdogs Romania on Sunday, the 17th, while Scotland will enjoy a week off before facing the South Pacific Island nation Tonga on Saturday, the 24th.