Rugby: Parks kicks Scots home to end Boks' hopes of Grand Slam

Flanker Kelly Brown enjoys Scotland's surprise win in the rain at Murrayfield. Photo / Getty Images
Flanker Kelly Brown enjoys Scotland's surprise win in the rain at Murrayfield. Photo / Getty Images

LONDON - South Africa's hopes of ending a miserable year with a rare Grand Slam of the Home Unions ended in the driving Edinburgh rain as Scotland claimed a memorable 21-17 win at Murrayfield yesterday.

With England and Australia claiming expected victories over Samoa and Italy respectively, it was left to the Scots to record the surprise scoreline on the third weekend of autumn internationals.

Dan Parks kicked all of Scotland's points, through six penalties and a drop goal, as a team which was crushed 49-3 by the All Blacks last weekend earned their first win over the Springboks since 2002.

The world champions finished bottom of the Tri-Nations table this year after losing five of their six matches and hadn't convinced during their end-of-year tour of Europe, scraping narrow wins over Ireland and Wales.

But they were still expected to beat Scotland, who had been embarrassed by the All Blacks just seven days ago.

"It's tough. We were probably under pressure," South Africa coach Peter de Villiers said. "Everyone wants us to play more expansive but with the weather the way it was it didn't allow us to. Scotland made use of it much better than us on the night so well done to them."

The Scots enjoy playing in the rain and would have been delighted to see the heavens open before kickoff. It meant tryscoring chances were few and far between and the hosts relied on the deadeye kicking of Parks to see them through.

The Cardiff No10 put his team 12-9 up at the break and Scotland quickly established a 21-12 lead heading into the closing stages through more Parks kicks. Replacement flanker Willem Alberts scored a late try for South Africa, adding to Morne Steyn's four penalties, but Scotland held on for a fourth win in their last five tests.

"What a difference a week makes," Scottish coach Andy Robinson said. "The physicality was top drawer. We knocked them over; last week we let New Zealand run through us.

"They were tough conditions to play in - some people say they are Scottish conditions. I think the guys handled it very well."

It was only Scotland's second victory over South Africa in 13 post-apartheid matches, and it was the second time Scotland have ruined the Springboks' Grand Slam dreams in four bids since their last sweep in 1960-61.

* The fireworks England produced in their 35-18 win over Australia last weekend weren't on show against Samoa but the 26-13 win at Twickenham was never really in doubt.

Martin Johnson's side lacked the cutting edge and fluency that marked the victory against the Wallabies and had only a 6-3 halftime lead against the Samoans.

England, boosted by a dominant scrum, pulled clear after the break and tries by winger-turned-centre Matt Banahan and replacement flanker Tom Croft saw them home. Toby Flood knocked over two conversions and four penalties to finish with a 16-point haul.

"We ground our way to the win," Johnson said. "It was a very different game to last week, it was very stop-start. Some of the composure wasn't quite there for us but it was still a good experience for the guys."

Samoa had gone ahead through Paul Williams' early penalty and the fullback scored a try at the start of the second half on a rare foray forward to put his side 8-6 ahead.

England suddenly found their spark, having blown countless tryscoring chances in the first half, before Samoa grabbed a consolation try through replacement winger Fautua Otto. It was the 2003 world champions' sixth successive victory over the Samoans.

* After back-to-back defeats - to England then Munster in midweek - Australia got their tour back on track with a 34-12 win over Italy in Florence.

Winger Drew Mitchell and captain Rocky Elsom scored the Wallabies' tries and Berrick Barnes kicked flawlessly, knocking over six penalties and two conversions for 22 points. Australia only pulled clear after the hour mark, though, before Italy replacement flanker Robert Barbieri burrowed over for a 71st-minute consolation try.

"We did a lot but didn't conclude a lot," Australia coach Robbie Deans said. "Like we anticipated, Italy used field position and a bit of cunning to hang in there. But the blokes used a lot of composure to finish it off.

"Obviously I'm satisfied. The boys had to work hard for it, though we were a little bit impulsive in the first half."

Italy improved on their losing performance against Argentina a week ago and had the dominant scrum, but the team let a number of promising chances slip through individual errors.

"We didn't let their backs make a lot of line breaks and for this we had to be very disciplined," Italy coach Nick Mallett said.

Australia complete their tour against France in Paris next weekend, when Italy will aim for their first win in five tests against Fiji in Modena.

* France outkicked Argentina 15-9 in Montpellier in a test dominated by defences at Stade de la Mosson.

Halfback Morgan Parra booted over four penalties to have the Pumas always chasing on the scoreboard, and first five-eighth Damien Traille slotted a second-half drop goal as the tight Argentina defence prevented Les Bleus from showing any flair.

Captain Felipe Contepomi kicked all of Argentina's points.

It was only France's third win in 10 matches this century against the Pumas, and avenged a 41-13 rout in Buenos Aires in June.

* Wales slumped to a 16-all draw against Fiji at the Millennium Stadium as their winless streak extended to six games.

A penalty try awarded just before the hour mark looked to have proved the difference and Wales looked set to claim a much-needed triumph.

But Seremaia Bai landed a injury-time penalty to clinch a draw at the death and leave Wales' autumn campaign in tatters after three losses and the All Blacks arriving this week.

Wales have not won since beating Italy 33-10 in the Six Nations in March.

- Agencies

- NZ Herald

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