AS HAD been feared, it was a game too far for Scotland as their callow, youthful side crashed and burned in South Africa as the hosts ran in a ruthless eight tries in a display of running rugby that they had no answer to.
SCORERS: South Africa; Coetzee 2, Le Roux, Mvovo 2, Pietersen, de Jager 2 (tries); Pollard (pen, 5 cons), Boschoff (con). Scotland: Weir (2 pens)
Scotland always knew it was going to be tough as they put out one of the most inexperienced sides of the modern era against one of the Test greats but they could not have imagined now hard it was really going to be. Every time the Scots tried to get out of their own half by kicking, they were opened up by a dynamic opposition back three, when they tried to bring the big forwards round the corner into the opposition defence, they were knocked back, when they tried to get the backs into play they found the opposition faster to cover any half breaks.
Too many mistakes, not enough brawn – it was not the recipe that they wanted, though it was, perhaps, the inevitable consequence of taking on such a powerful rugby nation without any of the players who have been at the core of the Scotland side for the last few years.
All the fears about the callow Scots core seemed justified as they came out and surrendered three tries inside the first half and then, as they tried to open up and chase the game, they found the going even tougher as the Springboks exploited the inevitable exhaustion and mistakes as they tried to chase the game to score five more.
The first came as Springboks went for the touchline, peeled round the back of the line out to hammer at the Scots line and fourth time of asking Marcell Coetzee, the flanker, powered through to score.
From the restart, Scotland did at least grab a Duncan Weir penalty but it was soon back to normal service as the Springboks hammered into the midfield and then shipped the ball wide to give Willie le Roux, the full back space to score. Handre Pollard, the fly half making his debut, converted both, were soon even more in control when JP Pieterson, put in a perfect chip for Lwazi Mvovo to chase and win the race to score.
Scotland did manage to stem the tide and get a toehold in the game with Stuart Hogg running dangerously from full back and Tommy Seymour threatening on the wing but it was hard work and they always looked vulnerable.
While the Springboks the ability to keep the ball, Scotland kept making mistakes and all their attacking threat barely broke the Springbok line.
Weir did finish the half with a second penalty but normal service was soon restored as Pollard replied in kind before the home side reverted to style, the next penalty went back to the touchline for a lineout and predictably they turned it into a driving maul which crabbed infield and forwards until the last remnants of opposition had evaporated as it went over the line with Coetzee the man on the end to claim his second score of the game.
There was a touch of fortune to the next score, with Tommy Seymour going for an interception but instead the ball floated his head to JP Pietersen, the centre, who rode Stuart Hogg’s tackle to reach the line. Though he appeared to lose the ball as he went over, the television match official ruled he had enough control to be awarded the score.
There was an air of increasing desperation to the Scottish play as they tried and failed to find a way through the home defence. When they tried one-pass rugby the runner was easily swallowed up and when they went for something more ambitious, they were likely to make mistakes.
It was from Henry Pygos’s attempt to find Nick de Luca with space on the outside that South Africa scored next, Mvovo grabbing the interception and that was him away.
What the Scots could not afford was the kind of elementary mistake that led to the seventh score, with nobody taking care of the high ball, which bounced loose for Lood de Jager, the lock making his first start, to grab it and sprint in from 30 yards out.
Pollard was happily knocking over the conversions as South Africa crept inexorably towards the 50-point mark, passing it when De Jager was again in the right place as the offloads stuck near the Scots line and he had only to fall over to score.
It was a hard lesson for the young Scots, but at least they did keep fighting, producing some of their most enterprising play when he match was clearly lost.
South Africa: W le Roux (Cheetahs), Z Kirchner, Leinster, 22-27, 74); C Hendricks (Cheetahs), J Pietersen (Sharks, M Boshoff, Lions, 71), J Serfontein (Bulls), L Mvovo (Sharks); H Pollard (Bulls), F du Preez (Bulls, F Hougaard, Bulls, 29); C Oosthuizen (Cheetahs, T Nyakane, Cheetahs, 67), B du Plessis (Sharks, A Strauss, Cheetahs, 61), J du Plessis (Sharks, M van der Merwe, Bulls, 49), L de Jager (Cheetahs), V Matfield (C) (Bulls, S Lewies, Sharks, 71), M Coetzee (Sharks), S Burger (Stormers, T Mohoje, Cheetahs, 67), D Vermeulen (Stormers).
Scotland: S Hogg (Glasgow Warriors, P Murchie, Glasgow Warriors, 66); S Maitland (Glasgow Warriors, D Fife, Edinburgh, 53), N De Luca (Edinburgh), P Horne (Glasgow Warriors), T Seymour (Glasgow Warriors); D Weir (Glasgow Warriors), H Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors, G Hart, Edinburgh, 75); A Dickinson (Edinburgh, M Low, Glasgow Warriors, 78), R Ford (Edinburgh, K Bryce, Glasgow Warriors, 60), G Cross (Glasgow Warriors, E Murray, Glasgow Warriors, 50), T Swinson (Glasgow Warriors, J Gray, Glasgow Warriors, 60), G Gilchrist (Edinburgh), R Harley (Glasgow Warriors), C Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors, T Holmes, Glasgow Warriors, 49) A Ashe (Glasgow Warriors)..
Referee: G Jackson (New Zealand)