Thursday, December 2, 2021

Hogg equals Scotland’s attempt to record as the dominant Springboks rally for victory

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Stuart Hogg became the Scottish record holder after a double against South Africa, but the world champion battled his way to a 30-15 win at BT Murrayfield.

Hogg scored two tries to bring him to 24 for Scotland, joining Tony Stanger and Ian Smith at the top of the all-time list.

Gregor Townsend’s team faced the Springboks for attempts, with Makazole Mapimpi also crossing twice and leading the hosts 10-8 at halftime.

But the guests’ control and physicality ensured they comfortably won the penalty counter, and they fell out of sight in the final quarter of the Autumn Nations Series game.

Scotland wanted to recapture victory over Australia last Sunday and Townsend made four changes. Glasgow winger Rufus McLean gave the go-ahead and Leicester Center Matt Scott made his first international match since June 2017. Hamish Watson had fallen on the bench.

Scotland faced a difficult opening, not aided by early handling mistakes by Finn Russell and Hogg, and they conceded five penalties in the first eleven minutes.

However, they faced the physicality of the tourists and stole a line-out on their five-meter line before Duhan Van Der Merwe devastated the defense after another loss of the ball.

The South African-born winger ran from the try line to the center line before forcing a penalty, which Russell shot from 40 yards after the guests were further penalized for dissent.

Russell soon missed another penalty from a similar distance, but from a tougher angle, and the home side were warned of the number of penalties received before Elton Jantjies could equalize the guests.

Mapimpi passed in the 28th minute after dodging two desperate tackles after overloading the guests on the left wing.

Jantjies missed the conversion and Scotland pushed forward before Hogg got his first attempt after good possession in the 34th minute.

Russell kicked Van Der Merwe for a second time in a minute and there were a number of offloads from wingers Sam Skinner and Chris Harris before Hogg passed.

Russell converted but missed a good penalty shot to extend the lead at halftime seconds after visiting coach head coach Jacques Nienaber made three front row substitutions instead of waiting for halftime.

Nienaber also swapped the scrum halves at halftime and his team shifted up a gear.

Van Der Merwe was robbed in the air and Mapimpi went over within three minutes of the restart after a good pace boost and a perfectly timed pass from Damian De Allende.

Jantjies kicked the conversion plus two penalties before Hogg burst again in the 59th minute. Scotland swiftly moved the ball left to right after a line-out and Van Der Merwe’s one-handed dump brought the captain close to cross.

Russell missed the conversion to keep the gap at six, but Scotland soon enforced a penalty deep in the host country after a kick and chase.

However, South Africa stole the resulting line-out and the world champion turned the screw in the last quarter.

Her physicality imposed a series of punishments that proved the difference. Handre Pollard kicked two and Frans Steyn added one from afar for an eventual comfortable away win.

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