Scotland 21-17 South Africa, Murrayfield, November 20
Robinson delighted by win
November 20, 2010
Scotland's Kelly Brown battles valiantly to hold on to the ball © Getty Images
Head coach Andy Robinson was overjoyed as Scotland claimed a fourth win in five Tests with a 21-17 victory over South Africa in the second EMC Autumn Test at Murrayfield.
Robinson was seeking a response from the 49-3 loss to New Zealand last weekend and he got it as the hosts edged a scrappy encounter laden with penalties and decided by the boot of Dan Parks.
Parks, so often the hero in recent times, demonstrated his unerring accuracy, kicking six penalties and a drop goal to punish the Springboks' indiscipline on a wet day in Edinburgh.
Morne Steyn kicked four penalties and Willem Alberts crashed over for a try for the 2007 world champions, whose hopes of a Grand Slam are now over.
It was Scotland's first win over South Africa since 2002 and Robinson is thrilled how his team have performed in his tenure, which has featured wins over Australia, Ireland, Argentina and now the Springboks.
Robinson said: "We're hugely delighted with the victory. This victory is achieved by the players and the mindset they've brought into the week that they're able to take on anybody.
"There's something brewing but there's a lot of hard work to go on. Every time we perform we've got to be at our very best. We'll go step by step. We've got a long way to go. We've got to keep our feet on the ground because we play Samoa next week and that's going to be a tough game for us."
Robinson praised his whole squad and coaching staff - particularly defence coach Graham Steadman for the seven-day turnaround, lock Richie Gray and replacement backrow Richie Vernon.
Gray, who was winning his fifth cap and made his second start, took on Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha, the most feared and revered second row partnership in world rugby, and came out on top.
"I think a number of young players have come of age today," said Robinson. "I thought Richie Gray really stepped up today, particularly when Scott MacLeod went off (with a rib injury). The pressure he put on the South African lineout, his defensive work and the hits he put in, but also some of his ball carries."
Scotland were unbeaten in four Tests - having drawn with England, beaten Ireland and recorded their first southern hemisphere series success with a 2-0 win in Argentina - before the seven-try maulling at the hands of the All Blacks.
Asked to compare his mood to after last week's game, Robinson joked: "Similar. Pleasure and pain are very close aren't they?"
He added: "It's a fine line and we under performed last week, but against a very good side. This week we raised our level of performance to take on the second best side in the world.
"There are many ways to win games of rugby and I thought we handled the conditions very well today. I'm delighted for Scotland and I'm delighted for the supporters, but also I'm delighted for the players. The players were pretty shell-shocked after last week and they've come back and proven that they have the ability to play against the very best in the world."
South Africa were crestfallen after seeing their Grand Slam dream end. They were less than convincing in winning 23-21 in Ireland and 29-25 in Wales, but were hoping to put a turbulent week behind them.
Bjorn Basson and Chiliboy Ralepelle were suspended after testing positive for a banned stimulant and Bryan Habana suffered a hand injury, with the trio ruled out of the tour.
Head coach Peter de Villiers said: "Obviously we're really disappointed The things that worked for us in the past few games - getting our first-phase ball and holding onto it - we didn't do those kind of things today. Scotland made use of it much better than us on the night, so well done to them."
Springboks captain Matfield was unhappy with the performance.
"It's tough," he said. "We were probably under pressure. Everyone wants us to play more expansive, but with the weather the way it was it didn't allow us to. You can't play a lot of rugby, so it was all about the guys making the least mistakes and putting the other team under pressure."
Scotland captain Rory Lawson praised his side's team spirit. He told BBC1: "Those conditions were really brutal out there today. It was all about field position today and we got the upper hand on that. It was all about being together and working hard for each other."
Man of the match John Barclay added: "I think after last week we were so bitterly disappointed. This is a step in the right direction. The belief is so strong, (we are) a very tight squad. We knew if we could play to our abilities we could win these games."
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