Report: Scotland 31-17 South Africa
Scotland got their WXV 2 campaign underway with a 31-17 win against the Springboks at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch. The forwards got four tries through driving mauls, with Lisa Thomson rounding off the scoring.
It was a nervous start for Scotland, as the Springboks came firing out of the blocks and were able to apply the pressure from the get-go.
The hosts were handed their first chance to get points on the board, with Scotland being penalised for not rolling away, as Libbie Janse van Rensburg stepped up to the mark and slotted through the penalty with ease [0-3].
The Springboks showed their dominance in the scrum several times but Scotland were able to rally and were soon deep into the South African territory following a searing break from Mairi McDonald.
The Scots eventually got the scoreboard ticking on the 22nd minute when Evie Gallagher crashed over on the back of a strong driving maul [5-3].
Moments later, the Springboks retaliated when Aseza Hele powered her way through the defence to score under the posts, with Janse van Rensburg adding the extras [5-10].
Scotland were able to retake the lead when Lana Skeldon dotted down on the back of another solid driving maul, with Helen Nelson slotting through the conversion [12-10].
There was a sense of deja-vu before the interval, as Skeldon crossed over the line on the back of another well-taken line-out and subsequent driving maul [17-10].
HALF-TIME: Scotland 17-10 South Africa
South Africa looked lively after the interval but Scotland did well to halt their probing attacks and kept their composure in the opening stages.
Scotland’s driving maul became an unstoppable force for the side, with Leah Bartlett claiming the bonus-point try, with Meryl Smith adding the extras [24-10].
The Springboks fired into action on the 62nd minute as Roseline Botes crashed over on the back of a driving maul, with Janse van Rensburg converting the score [24-17].
The Scots response was swift, however, as Francesca McGhie cantered into the corner but after a check of the TMO, it was deemed there was a forward pass in the lead-up to the score.
There were some nervous moments with the minutes trickling away, but those feelings were put to bed as Lisa Thomson broke through off the back of a lineout five metres out, charging through a midfield gap and under the posts to secure Scotland an opening win [31-17].
FULL-TIME: Scotland 31-17 South Africa
Mastercard Player of the Match: Lana Skeldon (Scotland)
Scotland: Chloe Rollie (Loughborough Lightning); Rhona Lloyd (GB 7s), Emma Orr (Heriot’s / Biggar), Lisa Thomson (GB 7s), Francesca McGhie (Leicester Tigers); Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning), Mairi McDonald (Exeter Chiefs); Leah Bartlett (Leicester Tigers), Lana Skeldon (Worcester Warriors), Christine Belisle (Loughborough Lightning), Emma Wassell (Loughborough Lightning), Louise McMillan (Saracens), Rachel Malcolm CAPTAIN (Loughborough Lightning), Rachel McLachlan (Sale Sharks), Evie Gallagher (Worcester Warriors).
Replacements: Elis Martin (Leicester Tigers) for Skeldon (10 mins), Anne Young (Sale Sharks) on for Bartlett (64 mins), Lisa Cockburn (Worcester Warriors) on for Belisle (56 mins), Eva Donaldson (Leicester Tigers), Jade Konkel (Harlequins) on for McLachlan (50 mins), Caity Mattinson (Worcester Warriors) on for McDonald (50 mins), Meryl Smith (Bristol Bears) on for Nelson (50 mins), Liz Musgrove (Ealing Trailfinders).
South Africa: Chuma Qawe; Maceala Samboya, Veroeshka Grain, Piwokuhle Nyanda, Shaunique Hess; Libbie Janse van Rensburg, Tayla Kinsey; Sanelisiwe Charlie, Lindelwa Gwala, Babalwa Latsha (captain), Vainah Ubisi, Danelle Lochner, Lusanda Dumke, Sinazo Mcatshulwa, Aseza Hele.
Replacements: Roseline Botes, Yonela Ngxingolo, Amber Schonert, Nolusindiso Booi, Catha Jacobs, Micke Gunter, Rumandi Pogieter, Mary Zulu.