International Rugby, Springboks

Pollard leads Springboks to Murrayfield victory

South Africa’s improvement under Rassie Erasmus continued at Murrayfield on Saturday as Handre Pollard delivered 18 points in a 26-20 win over Scotland.

After a narrow defeat to England at the start of the European tour, South Africa now have back-to-back victories, having edged past France last time out.

Pollard starred for the Springboks with a try, two conversions and thee penalties in a solid display from the visitors that included some dynamic running between the lines.

Scotland helped make an absorbing clash with flowing rugby of their own – Peter Horne’s try a particular highlight – but ultimately Gregor Townsend’s men just came up short as South Africa became only the second side, after New Zealand, to win at Murrayfield in 12 matches.

Jesse Kriel set the tone for a thrilling encounter with the game’s opening try after just six minutes, the centre finishing off after a stunning break from Pollard.

Pollard found a gap in Scotland’s midfield before unloading to Embrose Papier, with the scrum-half using supporting forwards to make ground before finding Kriel.

Anything the Springboks could do, Scotland matched and they restored parity after some sublime handling from Huw Jones. The recalled 24-year-old produced two reverse passes in a flowing move that resulted in Horne touching down.

Moments later South Africa capitalised on some sloppy Scotland play to move back in front as captain Siya Kolisi starting a move that saw Pollard dive between two defenders to score.

Having kicked both conversions, Pollard added the extras from his own try before Scotland came battling back.

Stuart Hogg’s stunning break was halted by Willie Le Roux, but from the resulting lineout Hamish Watson darted over in a well-worked move straight from the training ground.

Pollard’s second penalty of the half gave South Africa a three-point advantage at the break but within seven minutes of the restart the sides were level again – Greig Laidlaw kicking a penalty after Le Roux had been sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on.

The free-flowing action of the first half was replaced by a tactical battle in the second, with Pollard’s accuracy from the tee edging his side back in front.

He was unable to maintain that, though, as he missed two further penalties, but luckily for the fly-half it did not prove costly as Elton Jantjies split the posts to secure a six-point victory. News wire is powered by opta

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