Tuesday 17 September 2019

Scotland edged out in a thriller

South Africa's fly-half Handre Pollard dives over the line to score their second try. Photo: AFP/Getty
South Africa's fly-half Handre Pollard dives over the line to score their second try. Photo: AFP/Getty

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Scotland were denied their first win over South Africa since 2010 as they were edged out 26-20 at Murrayfield. The home side went to the break narrowly trailing 20-17 despite giving as good as they got during a thrilling first half.

Springboks stand-off Handre Pollard's stunning early burst helped put Jesse Kriel in for the opening try but the Dark Blues soon hit back after two audacious bits of skill from Huw Jones teed up Peter Horne.

The visitors were back in front within seconds, though, as Pollard danced home for their second - but a clever lineout move saw Scotland respond through Hamish Watson.

A mighty Pollard kick just before the break was all that separated the teams as they went down the tunnel. The second half was a quieter affair and that suited the visitors, who held on for victory largely thanks to the 13 points Pollard contributed with his boot.

Man of the match Pollard, who finished with 18 points, speaking of the atmosphere at Murrayfield, said: "It was unbelievable and something special. We had to fight it out and are lucky to come out on top.

"It is small moments which are big moments. We could have scored another try in the first half but they counter-attacked well and we made errors."

On the return to form of South Africa this year, he added: "We have brought back the belief and culture of the Springboks to make the people proud back home."

Scotland skipper Laidlaw said: "We are very frustrated and couldn't get any speed of ball. You have to be brave to win Test matches. We couldn't generate any quick ball. We are disappointed but we have to look at ourselves."

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"I'm disappointed for the team," added coach Gregor Townsend. "There was a lot of effort that went in and some great moments in the game. We should have kicked on but the effort they put in was outstanding."

On the decision not to level at 23-23 after being awarded a penalty, he added: "It's a players' decision. There was bravery in it but credit to South Africa for defending the maul."

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