Rugby World Cup 2023 kicked off with a powerful display from defending champions South Africa as they outclassed Scotland in Marseille. The Springboks displayed their trademark ruthlessness and physicality to secure an 18-3 victory.
In a fiercely contested first half, Scotland’s forward pack showed determination and tenacity. They managed to keep the game competitive, with Finn Russell scoring a penalty to bring the score to 6-3 at halftime.
However, the second half belonged to South Africa as they unleashed a relentless offensive. Pieter-Steph Du Toit and Kurt-Lee Arendse scored quick tries, breaking Scotland’s resilience. The Springboks capitalized on errors by the Scottish team, which included six lost lineouts in promising positions.
While Scotland may have argued for a potential red card for Jesse Kriel due to a dangerous tackle early in the game, their own missed opportunities and handling errors cost them dearly.
South Africa’s dominance continued in the set-piece, and their blitz defense forced Scotland into making mistakes. Despite not showcasing flashy rugby, the Springboks played to their strengths and secured a solid win.
South Africa now looks forward to a crucial match against Ireland, while Scotland faces a challenging path to progress in Pool B.
Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie praised his team’s physicality but acknowledged the need to improve their accuracy. Scotland’s head coach, Gregor Townsend, emphasized the importance of finding their game flow.
South Africa’s head coach, Jacques Nienaber, recognized Scotland as a formidable opponent and credited his team for grinding out the win.
The Springboks will aim to refine their performance as they prepare for the upcoming clash with Ireland, a game that promises to be a highlight of the tournament.
Line-ups: South Africa: Willemse, Arense, Kriel, De Allende, Kolbe, Libbok, De Klerk; Kitshoff, Marx, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi, Du Toit, Wiese.
Scotland: Kinghorn, Graham, Jones, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe, Russell, White; Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson, R Gray, Gilchrist, Ritchie, Darge, Dempsey.