South Africa send warning to World Cup rivals

A convincing display from the Springboks on Saturday sent a message to England and the All Blacks that this team will be very hard to beat. 

Scotland looked dangerous and capable for the first 20 minutes, but then three tries in 7 minutes from the men in green effectively ended the game as a contest.

After withstanding Scotland’s opening barrage of attacks, South Africa stepped up the pace and devastated their opponents by striking three times through Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie and Fourie Du Preez.  They were then able to shut up shop, and the Scots could find no way through the brick wall defence.

For that brief period, they ran at speed at any gap in the Scottish line, and were able to offload to support runners coming from depth.  The ball was kept alive if possible, but recycled quickly if a ruck was required, and with Habana lurking on the wing, they are a formidable attacking force.

In defence, Juan Smith and Schalk Burger on the two flanks were omnipresent, and stifled anything Scotland could produce.  The back line would rush quickly up to the ball carrier, and Chris Paterson could not generate any momentum for his wide men.

The Springboks’ infallible defence will worry Brian Ashton’s England, given their recent inability to create anything in attack, whilst the All Blacks will know there is a serious challenger to lift the Web Ellis Cup.