Quadrangular Tournament: South Africa dash Scottish hopes
Three second-half tries saw South Africa come from behind to beat Scotland 30-17 in their Quadrangular Tournament clash.
Last Updated: 15/06/13 8:30pm
The visitors looked to be heading for their first-ever win over the Springboks in South Africa after Matt Scott and Alex Dunbar scored converted tries in either half to put Scott Johnson's side 17-6 ahead.
But the hosts were awarded a penalty try and, after Jim Hamilton had been sin-binned for fighting, the Boks took advantage of their numerical superiority when JJ Engelbrecht touched down.
Jan Serfontein scored a last-gasp try to seal the win - their second of the tournament following last weekend's 44-10 rout of Italy.
The tourists now meet Italy next week in Pretoria to try to avoid finishing last in the four-team tournament, but at least they approached this match with more fire and venom than they had produced in their tame defeat to Samoa the previous week.
The tackling was determined and the attacking play incisive, with captain Greig Laidlaw finding lots of holes around the fringe of the rucks, while Scott in the centre was also creating plenty of problems for the home defence.
It had to pay off, first with a Laidlaw penalty after near misses for Alasdair Strokosch and Scott twice.
The gap was created by a moment of brilliance from Tommy Seymour, the wing winning his first cap, who spotted a gap, ran through and chipped over Springbok full-back Willie Le Roux. Although Seymour was caught a yard short, Scotland recycled the ball and had a five-man overlap when Scott ambled over the line.
South Africa had stayed in touch with a couple of penalties from fly-half Morne Steyn - but when they had the chance to cut the gap to a single point with a third kickable penalty, they opted instead to go for the corner and a line-out maul.
This rugged version of Scotland, however, was in no mood to give way to that sort of bullying. They stood firm against two goes at the same tactics before the Springboks lost control and they could hack the ball clear.
The Scots still had their noses in front at the break and it was soon to get even better as Tim Swinson, another of the impressive debutants, drove up the middle. Again, though he was stopped a couple of yards short, he had done the damage and centre Dunbar was out wide to finish off the overlap for his first international try.
Staring an improbable defeat in the face, South Africa raised their intensity, though it was a stupid trip on Bryan Habana that got them into the game. Steyn kicked the penalty into the corner and when Scotland were ruled to have collapsed the maul, referee Roman Poite went straight under the posts to give the home side a penalty try.
Seconds later Scotland lock Hamilton was in the sin bin for a push to the face on Eben Etzebeth, his opposite number, and Scotland were back under the cosh. A line-out misfire handed the hosts the ball, they piled upfield, pummelled the Scots line and centre Engelbrecht went over for the score that put them ahead for the first time on the hour mark.
Replacement fly-half Patrick Lambie kicked a penalty to increase the cushion to six points and replacement centre Serfontein wriggled over in the dying seconds to add a scarcely deserved gloss to the result.