Rugby Union: Springboks out of this world

Scotland brought to their knees as the green machine put on a show of the beautiful south
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Scotland 10 South Africa 68

Try: Stark Tries: Montgomery 2 Small 2

Pen: Shepherd Erasmus, Rossouw

Con: Shepherd F Smith, Snyman

Teichmann, Venter

Cons: Montgomery 8, De Beer

Half-time: 3-14 Attendance: 55,000

It was just as well that the Scottish Rugby Union chose to open a giant beer tent behind Murrayfield's West Stand yesterday. Caledonian sorrows were in urgent need of drowning after Scotland sank to their heaviest ever defeat. They were submerged by a barrage of points as South Africa claimed their third record Test win in as many Saturdays. The total amassed by Nick Mallett's rampant Springboks, a staggering 68, was 17 more than the All Blacks of 1993 inflicted in the previous worst damage suffered by the Scots. In doing so, moreover, they eclipsed the Boks of '51, whose 44-0 rout had stood as Scotland's record losing margin for 46 years.

They managed one more try, too. For 22 minutes Scotland defended their line like Bravehearts. By the merciful blast of the final whistle, it had been crossed 10 times by a team laying claim to the leading role in the new order of world rugby. James Small scored the pair he needed to supplant Danie Gerber as South Africa's record try-scorer. The right wing now has 20.

But Scotland's chief tormentor in this latter-day Culloden was Percival Colin Montgomery, a fringe centre with Western Province a year ago but on yesterday's evidence an attacking full-back in the Cullen class. His dynamic pace took him clear for the opening try, after 22 minutes, and left the home guard clutching Scotch mist for his second, with six minutes left. But he cleared a devastating path for at least two more South African tries and, for good measure, landed eight of his nine conversions. With 26 points, it was a particularly full Monty that exposed Scotland's shortcomings.

"It was the best display I've ever seen from a full-back," said Rob Wainwright, the Scottish captain. "For 60 minutes we played with an immense amount of pride, passion and commitment. When you play like that and look up to see 68 points against you on the scoreboard... It's very hard to take."

Scotland were without three Lion-hearts, with Alan Tait, Doddie Weir and Tom Smith, all on the wounded list. And, vain though their efforts ultimately were, they put up a more spirited fight than they did when the Wallabies were allowed to waltz over Murrayfield a fortnight ago. They even took the lead, after lifting the siege of their territory after 15 backs-to-the-wall minutes against the eager Boks.

Rowen Shepherd administered the penalty punishment when Dick Muir strayed offside and Craig Chalmers, Gregor Townsend, Andy Nicol and Eric Peters all ventured within sniffing range of the line as Scotland scented a breakthrough. Instead, their own back-line was breached when Jannie De Beer's miss-pass was fed out to Montgomery by Pieter Rossouw and the full-back sped over on the left. Ten minutes later Johan Erasmus was on hand when De Beer's right ankle was lassoed. The Springboks were on their way.

Their lead was a mere 14-3 at the break but they returned with instructions to cut loose. First Rossouw released Small on the right. Then the left wing burst through the middle himself, and Gary Teichmann, the Springbok captain, rode a series of missed tackles. Scotland could not see from where the next break might come. Montgomery fed in Andre Venter and Small before the token riposte of a Derek Stark score in the left corner. Just 10 minutes remained but the damage was far from over.

Montgomery scored his second try with a mesmerising break from outside the home 22 and he was followed by Andre Snyman and Franco Smith. The cricket score Scotland feared was on the board at the final whistle, much to the satisfaction of Mallett, who hit Ian Botham for three sixes in one over in his Oxford University days. "To score 52 points at Parc des Princes, a record 29 at Twickenham and 68 here is just fantastic," South Africa's Hertfordshire-born coach said. "But we've yet to play the other big teams - New Zealand and Australia. We won't know where we really stand until we play them next year." It was a sobering thought upon which to reflect as Scotland cried into its beer at Murrayfield last night.

Scotland: R Shepherd (Melrose); C Joiner (Leicester), A Stanger (Hawick), C Chalmers (Melrose), D Stark (Glasgow); G Townsend (Northampton), A Nicol (Bath); D Hilton (Bath), G Bulloch (West of Scotland), M Stewart (Northampton), S Campbell (Dundee HSFP, S Murray (Bedford), R Wainwright (Watsonians, capt), E Peters (Bath), I Smith (Moseley). Replacements: D Hodge (Watsonians) for Chalmers, 51; G Armstrong (Newcastle) for Nicol, 63; P Walton (Newcastle) for Peters, 71.

South Africa: P Montgomery (Western Province); J Small (Western Province), A Snyman (Blue Bulls), R Muir (Western Province), P Rossouw (Western Province); J De Beer (Free State), W Swanepoel (Free State); P Du Randt (Free State), J Dalton (Gauteng Lions), A Garvey (Natal), K Otto (Blue Bulls), M Andrews (Natal), J Erasmus (Free State), G Teichmann (Natal), A Ventner (Free State). Replacements: J Swart (Western Province) for Small, 71; F Smith (Griqualand) for De Beer, 35; W Mayer (Free State) for Du Randt, 71.

Referee: P Thomas (France).