A South Africa side initially frayed by nerves destroyed the Scots up front to register a thumping first Test win of 2006.
Scotland conquered France and England in the Six Nations but they discovered the harsh realities of life in the southern hemisphere yesterday as they were overwhelmed by the power and aggression of the Springbok pack. Only their captain, Jason White, who fought a tremendously physical battle with Schalk Burger, was really up to the task.
Scotland had been crushed in the scrums throughout the first half and two substitutions were made in the front row at half -time. The arrival of Dougie Hall and Craig Smith at least steadied the pack a little but a dangerous back row never had a chance to roam around the fringes because the platform had not been established further forward.
South Africa's caution, talking up the Scots all week and choosing as strong a side as possible, was puzzling. No one has been threatened by the Scottish scrummage for years.
The Springboks led 18-6 at half time and got out to 36-9 before deciding they had gorged themselves sufficiently. A substitute, Simon Webster, at last snatched a try for the Scots, in the 77th minute.
South Africa frankly overdid the respect for the Scottish eight, but in any case Eddie Andrews' scrummaging at tight-head was much improved, Danie Rossouw had a terrific game at lock and the back row were everywhere, with Burger, Joe van Niekerk and Juan Smith playing forcefully.
This year marks a century of Springbok rugby and the latest Boks got the celebrations off with a bang, even though there was a lack of precision in their game. Several chances went begging, especially in the first half, and the Scots could have been on the end of a 50-point drubbing.
One weapon which was firing was the Springboks' driven maul, and Scotland were out-gunned. Given the murderous pressure they were enduring in the scrums, ball supply was a constant problem. South Africa scored their first try after 15 minutes, when Burger drove over from a five-metre scrum. The video referee was needed to adjudicate, moments after the captain John Smit had been denied a try by the same official.
The full-back Percy Montgomery, who kicked an early penalty, converted and asecond try came three minutes later, Breyton Paulse stumbling after a break by the impressive Fourie du Preez but regaining his feet to reach the corner.
Chris Paterson landed his third penalty to make it 18-9 early in the second half, but the Springboks began to spread the play. The centre Jacque Fourie ran strongly, but it was Jean de Villiers' brilliant 52nd-minute break that sent Andre Snyman over for a try on his comeback.
Montgomery landed two more penalties and South Africa scored their fourth try, the full-back capitalising on a break by Ricky Januarie, a run by Rossouw and a clever straightening of the line by Jaco van der Westhuyzen.
South Africa: P Montgomery (Natal); B Paulse (Clermont), J Fourie (Lions), J de Villiers (Western Province), A Snyman (Leeds); J van der Westhuyzen, F du Preez (both Blue Bulls); O du Randt (Free State), J Smit (Natal, capt), E Andrews (Western Province), D Rossouw, V Matfield (both Blue Bulls), S Burger (Western Province), J van Niekerk (Western Province), J Smith (Free State). Replacements: W Olivier (Blue Bulls) for De Villiers, 54; L Sephaka (Lions) for Du Randt, 56; P Wannenburg (Blue Bulls) for Van Niekerk, 60; E Januarie (Lions) for Du Preez, 60; G Du Toit (Western Province) for Paulse, 61; J Muller (Western Province) for Matfield, 70; H Shimange (Western Province) for Smit, 75.
Scotland: H Southwell; C Paterson, M Di Rollo (all Edinburgh), A Henderson (Glasgow), S Lamont (Northampton); D Parks (Glasgow), M Blair (Edinburgh); G Kerr (Leeds), S Lawson (Glasgow), B Douglas (Borders), N Hines (Perpignan), S Murray (Edinburgh), J White (Sale, capt), A Hogg (Edinburgh), D Macfadyen (Glasgow). Replacements: S Webster (Edinburgh) for Lamont, 39; D Hall (Edinburgh) for Lawson, 40; C Smith (Edinburgh) for Douglas, 40; A Kellock (Edinburgh) for Murray, 59; G Ross (Leeds) for Parks, 63; S Pinder (Glasgow) for Blair, 71.
Referee: D Courtney (Ireland).