South Africa's quest for a Grand Slam is over after Scotland defeated the world champions 21-17 at Murrayfield on Saturday.
South Africa's quest for a Grand Slam is over after Scotland defeated the world champions 21-17 on Saturday.
It was an amazing turnaround for the hosts who were thumped by New Zealand a week ago, but – against all odds – bounced back superbly to record a memorable victory and restore some pride.
The same couldn't be said of South Africa though, who would have targeted this encounter as the easiest of the four 'Home Nations'. However, Scotland proved that no Test match is easy as the woeful Boks found out… the hard way.
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson was seeking a response from the 49-3 loss to the All Blacks and he certainly got it as the hosts edged a scrappy encounter laden with penalties and decided by the boot of Dan Parks.
Scotland were without a win over South Africa since the 2002 Murrayfield meeting, but eight years on Parks demonstrated his unerring accuracy, kicking six penalties and a drop goal to punish the Springboks' indiscipline.
It was Scotland's fourth win in five Tests and just a second victory over South Africa in 13 post-Apartheid meetings.
Not for the first time on tour, South Africa were on the scoreboard first thanks to Morne Steyn's boot three minutes in. It could have been a nine-point lead after nine minutes had Steyn and his namesake Francois not missed the target with their respective attempts.
The Scots were certainly left off the hook by the two Steyn's after giving away silly penalties that only slowed the game down as a spectacle, but the Bok fly-half wasn't to be denied his third crack – the ball sailing through the uprights on the 13th minute mark.
At last, Gio Aplon woke the Murrayfield crowd from their slumber with a a trademark dart along the touchline, only to be brought down by Graeme Morrison who prevented a possible opening try for the South Africans.
That seemed to spark the Scots as the home side rumbled into South Africa's territory for the first time in the match, and were swiftly awarded with a penalty that Parks duly slotted for his team.
The Springboks knew they had a game on their hands when, three minutes later and Scotland once again on the attack, Parks opted for a cheeky drop goal that leveled the scores 6-6 with a quarter of the Test played.
To the Boks' horror and Murrayfield's delight, Parks doubled Scotland's score with two further penalties that accelerated the hosts into a rather surprising 12-6 lead.
It was a vastly different display from the home team that never had a look-in last week against the All Blacks, while South Africa looked the same messy bunch as seen in the first half in Cardiff.
But just as the Boks did in the Welsh capital, they did again in Edinburgh – Morne Steyn's boot keeping the world champions in with a shout from the kicking tee that would take them into the half-time sheds three points behind (12-9).
Scotland had an opportunity to finish the first half off with a try, but their chance to extend a three-point lead fell flat like their pivot Parks who was on the receiving end of an almighty tackle that would only see him rise to his feet several minutes after the initial hit.
Still, Scotland were forty minutes away from only their second win over the Boks in the last decade.
South Africa had other ideas though and drew level once again with another Morne Steyn penalty six minutes into the second half. Parks certainly didn't look like he had been smashed by a bus after responding with his fifth successful penalty of the afternoon.
He wasn't done there though as another one followed soon after to give Scotland the lead with a six-point cushion that left frustrated Bok captain Victor Matfield questioning referee Stu Dickinson's calls where on one or two occasions certainly looked a tad dubious.
Parks was the man of the moment after raising the flags yet again after Dickinson incorrectly blew Juan Smith for diving into a ruck. At 21-12, South Africa were in trouble but responded in the only way they know how – forward power.
Replacement loose forward Willem Alberts used his massive frame to bulldoze his way over after taking the ball from the back of a line-out that gave his team a sniff at another come-from-behind win. Fellow replacement Patrick Lamble missed the ensuing conversion, which at 21-17, meant South Africa would need more than a penalty to snatch it.
Four points behind, the tourists pressed with Bok full-back Zane Kirchner making a run out towards the left flank but with six minutes left, Scotland won a penalty and kicked for the corner.
Parks' chip through went nowhere but Scotland were also killing time – the game ending in the absence of any do or die efforts from their opponents.
Man of the match: Dan Parks provided all the home side's points, but we giving this award to the entire Scotland team for proving their doubters wrong.
Moment of the match: There weren't many, but every time Dan Parks thumped over another penalty, the more Scottish fans sensed a victory was in sight.
Pens: Parks 6
For South Africa:
Pens: M Steyn 4
Scotland: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Rory Lawson (c), 8 Kelly Brown, 7 John Barclay, 6 Nathan Hines, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Moray Low, 18 Richie Vernon, 19 Ross Rennie, 20 Greig Laidlaw, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Chris Paterson.
South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Frans Steyn, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 MornÃ© Steyn, 9 FranÃ§ois Hougaard, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss , 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Adi Jacobs.
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)