Slow-starting Scotland pay heavy price as South Africa ease to win

Duncan Weir
Duncan Weir
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Scotland head coach Vern Cotter confessed his side need to find a way to come out of the traps quicker after wasting another 40 minutes against South Africa.

The Dark Blues were sluggish in their opening two World Cup clashes with Japan and United States before eventually letting loose in the second half.

And it was the same story against the Springboks in Newcastle as they again started slowly before impressing after the break.

But while Cotter’s team was able to come through those first two games with bonus-point wins, Heyneke Meyer’s muscle-bound Boks were not so forgiving as they claimed a 34-16 triumph.

Now the Kiwi admits his team must stop leaving it until half-time before showing their best rugby.

He said: “I think the score is a pretty fair reflection of the game. They dominated the contact area and we struggled to move forward.

“In the second half I thought the players stepped up and matched the intensity at the breakdown. It was a better second half. Is there a reason why we’ve started slowly in all three games? It’s a valid question.

“It will be something that is talked about this week.”

It took South Africa 13 minutes to open the scoring, with Schalk Burger adding the finishing touch after a ruck of bodies crashed over the Scottish line.

JP Pietersen added a second just before half-time, but the Scots stepped it up after the break, scoring a magnificent try through Tommy Seymour after stand-in stand-off Duncan Weir – replacing the injured Finn Russell – made a daring 80-yard intercept run.

They even closed to within six points and a losing bonus point before the Boks regained their composure, scoring a third try seven minutes from time as Bryan Habana dived over.

Skipper Greig Laidlaw agreed the team must address their lack of intensity in the opening stages.

“We’re playing good teams so it takes time to break them down,” the scrum-half said.

The Scots must beat Samoa in their final game or risk losing out on a quarter-final place.