Springboks start Rugby World Cup defence with Scotland victory

Springboks start Rugby World Cup defence with Scotland victory

South Africa v Scotland - Rugby World Cup France 2src23

Grant Williams breaks with the ball during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Scotland at Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

South Africa kicked off the defence of their Rugby World Cup title with an 18-3 victory over Scotland in the teams’ opening Pool B match in Marseille on Sunday.

The Springboks, featuring 14 of the match-day squad of 23 that beat England in the 2019 final, were made to work hard for the win, with just two Manie Libbok penalties to show for their first-half graft, Finn Russell pulling one back for Scotland.

A brace of tries within three minutes from Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kurt-Lee Arendse early in the second period, however, turned the game.

“I’m just stoked that the first step went the way it did,” said Libbok, whose cross-kick for Arendse’s try effectively dashed Scotand’s hopes.

“I’m grateful for my forwards to give me the platform. I saw the space out wide so I went there. I’m pleased it came off.”

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend praised his side’s initial defence but rued a second-half marred by errors.

“We defended well in the first half, we then grew into the gam

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