There was a collective wince around BT Murrayfield moments after the crowd had exploded in appreciation for one of the great tries ever seen at the stadium as referee Romain Poite went to the TMO.
One man not too bothered by that was the player who had finished off the sublime move as Pete Horne joked that he was glad of the rest, and confident the 19th-minute try would stand after a check that the first of Huw Jones’s magnificent back-of-the-hand passes hadn’t gone forward.
“I was blowing. I quite enjoyed just getting an extra minute’s break,” said Horne. “No, Shuggie [Jones] said he thought it was fine. When we were walking back, we were chatting and he was like, ‘Nah, I think it’ll be fine’.
“It is probably the best team try of my career. It was exactly what we kind of talked about through the week – outworking them, form the width, and resetting,” continued the Glasgow centre. “We knew we could sting them out the back of our forward pod.
“It was nice to pick them off. That’s one of our trademarks – showing a bit of energy and just working hard to get on the end of things.”
Horne admitted there was frustration in the changing room that Scotland hadn’t quite managed to get the win against a hugely physical and well-drilled South Africa side.
“There was a couple of little decisions in our 22 that we maybe could have just exited. It looked like it was on but they did a great job in shutting us down,” said Horne.
“It’s like a classic big Test match – it’s going to come down to a couple of little things. We didn’t feel like we were far away, but maybe a couple of mauls as well. They did quite well at slowing us down. If we could have got the ball out of that maul and then backed our shape at the finish, you’d like to think we could have scored a couple of tries.”
The Springboks played the big moments better but, for all the talk in the lead up to the huge physical Test that was looming and an acceptance that it had been a bruising battle, Horne felt that the Scots showed up well in that department.
“I think we did. We didn’t really feel like we got outmuscled at any point,” he said.
“We had a huge emphasis on that going into the game, about our defence especially, our physicality and line speed. Bar a couple of little errors that they capitalised on, I thought it was pretty good.
“We were getting off the line and it felt pretty comfortable. We knew going in that we just had to batter up. They were going to come pretty direct.
“It was one of those games where sometimes you don’t miss many tackles, but where you’re quite passive they get a lot of metres. Although they kicked a lot of penalties, they’re one of the best teams in the world at keeping a hold of the ball and it never really felt like they were going to score, especially in that second half.”
Scotland never managed to get their noses in front at any stage but Horne said they always felt in the game and the hunt for victory.
“Oh, to be honest, it felt like a big game and it’s always going to be tight,” he said. “We made a decision to go to the corner [with a 63rd-minute penalty]. We felt like we needed to make a move and grab the Test match by the horns.
“Unfortunately we didn’t score off it but that was a good call. It showed what we’re about. We backed ourselves: we backed our maul, the forwards had just rumbled 30 metres up the pitch off a little impromptu maul. It’s rare against a big side like that you’re going to run away with it. It’s always going to be tight. As long as you’re in the game at 60 minutes you’ve got a chance.”
Horne said the squad were now desperate to get back out against Argentina on Saturday and get back to winning ways after having their home fortress breached for only the second time in two years.
“The changing room is pretty dark. We’re pretty devastated with that defeat, similarly against Wales.
“If we do have a defeat like that we learn from it and then we come back out firing the following week. It’s not often that we get beaten twice, especially at home.
“ There’s certainly a real hunger to make sure that we finish on a high.”