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South Africa beat brave Scotland

South Africa v Scotland. Credit: PA

South Africa 34 - 16 Scotland

A strong performance from South Africa gave them the lead against Scotland at half time, but Scotland have made an excellent start to the second half.

Bismarck du Plessis got the opening try for the Springboks, after a lengthy stoppage by the television match official. Handre Pollard's conversion gave them a seven point lead.

Pollard kicked two penalties to extend the lead, before Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw pulled three points back, bringing it to 13-3.

South Africa tight-head prop Jannie du Plessis then clattered Fraser Brown in the ruck, and was sent to the sin-bin.

The penalty was too far out for Jedburgh's Laidlaw, who fell short.

Then, on the stroke of half time, South Africa's dreaded rolling maul heaved into action.

As the Scots tried desperately to fight back, the ball was moved out the back and JP Pietersen had a simple finish.

The conversion was easy for Pollard, sending the Springboks into the break 20-3 up.

Shortly after the restart scrum-half Greig Laidlaw scored another penalty, and in the 48th minute Tommy Seymour sent St James' Park into raptures, finishing from close range after Duncan Weir embarked on a mazy run after stealing a pass.

Laidlaw converted, but Pollard pulled the Springboks ahead again with a drop goal, taking it to 23-13.

Greig Laidlaw then had a moment to forget, getting a yellow card for pulling down JP Pietersen as he tried to escape down the wing.

But far from panicking, Scotland closed the gap further - Duncan Weir's penalty bringing it back to 23-16.

South Africa hit back instantly with another Pollard penalty restoring the ten point lead, and yet another taking it to 29-16.

Then, in the 72nd minute, South Africa looked to have wrapped up the victory when Habana dived across the line on the left wing, before Scotland could push him into touch.

The Springboks held on to beat Scotland 34-16.


Springbok fans flocking to Newcastle

Their side may have had a shaky start to the Rugby World Cup, but South Africa's fans go into today's match against Scotland with their trademark confidence.

The Fanzone in Newcastle is already filling up, ahead of the game at St James' Park this afternoon:

The Springboks are confident. Credit: ITV News
Flags from both countries are being waved proudly. Credit: ITV News
The game appeals to all ages. Credit: ITV News
The Springboks are aiming to flood the Fanzone with their colours. Credit: ITV News

Du Preez to lead Springboks in Newcastle

South Africa's Fourie Du Preez will lead the Springboks against Scotland on Saturday Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

Fourie du Preez will lead South Africa against Scotland when the Rugby World Cup comes to St James' Park in Newcastle on Saturday, becoming the team's 56th Test captain.

Du Preez made his return in the match against Samoa last weekend and will stand in as captain in the absence of Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield, who have both been ruled out due to injury.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer made only three changes to the starting line-up for Saturday’s match – two of them injury-enforced.

Coach Heyneke Meyer said that losing two experienced captains in one week had been a severe blow but that the squad included a number of highly capable deputies.

South Africa's Fourie Du Preez with head coach Heyneke Meyer during training Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

“Fourie has been one of the best scrumhalves in world rugby for a long time, but he also understands the game better than most players and is a tactical genius.

“He will know exactly what is needed on Saturday when we continue our fight to keep our World Cup dream alive.

“Schalk stood in on the last occasion that Jean and Victor were both absent earlier this season before Fourie had returned to fitness. They are both great leaders who go about their work in contrasting ways and I think they will work extremely well in tandem. “They are hugely experienced and they know what it will take to win this very important match against a great Scottish side.”

– Heyneke Meyer, South Africa Coach

Meyer said his team would have to build on their victory over Samoa on Saturday in order to stay in the hunt for a play-off spot at the Rugby World Cup.

RWC 2015: Serfontein joins South Africa squad as De Villiers replacement

Jan Serfontein has joined the rest of South Africa's Rugby World Cup squad in Gateshead after being called-up as a replacement for injured captain Jean De Villiers.

The Springboks skipper suffered a broken jaw during last weekend's Pool B win over Samoa, ruling him out for the rest of the tournament. Serfontein then flew over to Newcastle from South Africa after being called-up to replace the 34-year-old.

Serfontein, who spoke to the media today, will be hoping make his Rugby World Cup 2015 bow in South Africa's next game against Scotland at St James' Park in Newcastle on Saturday.


Burger saddened by De Villiers retirement

South Africa loose-forward Schalk Burger has spoken of his sadness after team captain Jean De Villiers announced his retirement from international rugby.

De Villiers suffered a broken jaw during the Springboks' Rugby World Cup win over Samoa on Saturday, ruling the 34-year-old out for the rest of the tournament. De Villiers has since announced his retirement with immediate effect.

Burger, who is a close friend of De Villiers, was speaking at a team press conference in Gateshead ahead of this weekend's Pool B match against Scotland at St James' Park.

Springboks arrive in UK for Rugby World Cup

South Africa have arrived in the UK in preparation for the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks start their campaign against Japan in Brighton on September 19.

Their third match in Pool B is against Scotland at St James' Park in Newcastle on October 3.

South Africa posted on their Twitter account upon arrival on the south coast: