Rugby World Cup 2015: Pool B - South Africa v Scotland
Pietersen and Habana put knockout phase in sight
PA Sport
October 3, 2015
Date/Time: Oct 3, 2015, 16:45 local, 15:45 GMT
Venue: St James's Park, Newcastle
Scotland 16 - 34 South Africa
Attendance: 50900  Half-time: 3 - 20
Tries: Seymour
Cons: Laidlaw
Pens: Laidlaw 2, Weir
Tries: Burger, Habana, Pietersen
Cons: Pollard 2
Pens: Pollard 4
Drops: Pollard
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  JP Pietersen of South Africa (R) celebrates scoring a try with Fourie Du Preez of South Africa  during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Scotland at St James' Park on October 3, 2015 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Fourie de Preez and JP Pietersen celebrate the latter's first-half try
© Getty Images

South Africa put themselves in control of their own destiny in Pool B with a comfortable victory over Scotland in Newcastle.

Scotland coach Vern Cotter made 11 changes as his side sought a famous win over South Africa to book their place in the World Cup knockout stages at St James' Park.

Cotter, who was without fly-half Finn Russell and John Hardie, had been eager to freshen up his side as they faced their third game in 10 days and with a potentially crucial showdown against Samoa looming next week.

South Africa started their post-Jean de Villiers era with Fourie du Preez taking over the captain's armband and Jesse Kriel coming into the side to form a centre partnership with Damian de Allende.

The South Africans set about their task in ominous fashion as they pinned the Scots -- roared on by the majority of the St James' Park crowd -- back in their own 22.

Springboks too strong for Scotland

A sustained spell of pressure resulted in a mass of green shirts piling over the line in the 12th minute, with Schalk Berger appearing to get the decisive touch.

After a lengthy consultation with the video officials, referee Nigel Owens awarded the try and Handre Pollard kicked the simplest of conversions to extend South Africa's advantage.

Five minutes later, after more South African pressure, a long rolling maul was eventually collapsed by the Scottish front row and Pollard put over the resulting penalty to give South Africa a 10-0 lead with 20 minutes on the clock.

Pollard stretched South Africa's lead to 13 points with his second penalty in the 26th minute as the Scots were once again penalised for scrappy play in their own 22.

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But there was a glimmer of hope for Scotland on the half-hour when South Africa infringed on the breakdown and Greig Laidlaw kicked a fine three-pointer to narrow the deficit to 13-3.

And there was further hope of a shift in momentum when South Africa prop Jannie du Plessis was yellow-carded for dangerous play after a shoulder charge on Gordon Reid, but Laidlaw's penalty attempt fell short.

The South Africans made light of their numerical disadvantage when they pushed a maul towards the Scotland try line and Du Preez fed JP Pietersen, who barged over, Pollard converting for a 20-3 half-time lead.

The Scots looked much brighter at the start of the second half with Laidlaw kicking a penalty to reduce the deficit to 20-6 after a sustained spell of pressure.

And the game sprang to life in the 48th minute when Duncan Weir intercepted a wayward Pollard pass, sprinting half the length of the field before off-loading for Tommy Seymour to pile over for their first try.

Laidlaw's conversion brought Scotland back within seven points but Pollard responded with a drop goal to stretch South Africa's lead once again.

With Scotland threatening, it fell to Habana to apply the coup de grace, diving over the line in the closing stages to put merited emphasis on the scoreline.

JP Pietersen of South Africa (floor) celebrates scoring their second try with Damian De Allende © Getty Images
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