Scotland (12) 21 Pens: Parks 6 Drop-goal: Parks South Africa (9) 17 Try: Alberts Pens: Steyn 4
Highlights - Scotland 21-17 South Africa
By Colin Moffat
Dan Parks turned in an unerring kicking display as Scotland held their nerve to get the better of South Africa at a rain-soaked Murrayfield.
In a scrappy affair littered with mistakes, Parks knocked over six penalties and a drop-goal.
Morne Steyn landed four penalties as the Springboks struggled in the wet.
Willem Alberts powered over for a late South Africa try but Scotland survived to make amends for last weekend's record mauling from New Zealand.
After a shaky start, Scotland adapted to the miserable conditions much the better and, despite that late scare when Alberts touched down, ran out deserved winners, playing some smart rugby.
The 2007 world champions arrived in Edinburgh after narrow wins over Ireland and Wales but could not build on a poor start from the hosts.
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson had stressed the importance of mixing up the game plan but all he saw were defensive mix-ups in the opening stages.
Scotland's 'physicality' impresses Robinson
The Scots conceded four penalties in the first 12 minutes, with Steyn slotting two of them over.
However, as the weather improved, the jitters passed to the visitors and Scotland found themselves 12-6 ahead on the half hour as Parks found the mark with three penalties and a rather scuffed drop-goal that took a handy deflection off an opponent.
Both sides were struggling to retain possession and build momentum, with several long delays in play for the set up of scrums.
Scotland were forced into a change when lock Scott MacLeod was substituted after a heavy tackle resulted in a rib injury.
Richie Vernon came into the back row, with Nathan Hines switching to his usual second row position.
Steyn reduced the deficit with another penalty as the rain returned but there was little in the way of action in either 22.
There was a surge from the Scots on the stroke of half-time after Parks had been flattened by Jean de Villiers as he tried to fire off another drop-goal.
Joe Ansbro, making his debut, had the crowd on their feet with a jinking run but a promising move petered out with a sloppy knock-on near the try-line.
The scores were level six minutes into the second half, with Steyn looping over his fourth penalty of the afternoon.
Vernon looked rather surprised after making a lovely weaving break from his own half deep into Springboks territory but the big replacement had no support and was crudely taken out by an unpunished high challenge from Zane Kirchner.
It might not have been pretty but Scotland were standing toe-to-toe with the terrifying bulk of the visitors, while maintaining their discipline admirably and Parks edged the hosts back in front with another perfectly executed penalty.
Parks kept cool to stretch that lead to nine points with two further penalties, as the Scots benefitted from more disjointed play from Peter de Villiers' side.
With 10 minutes remaining and the rain still teeming down, South Africa gave a glimpse of their awesome power when Alberts gathered from a line-out and crashed through two blue jerseys to land a try.
The opportunity to close the gap further was missed when Patrick Lambie dragged the conversion wide.
Scotland closed the game out commendably, remaining cool in the closing stages to record a rare win over southern hemisphere opponents that helps to banish the painful memories of the defeat to New Zealand.
Scotland: Southwell, Walker, Ansbro, Morrison, S. Lamont, Parks, R. Lawson, Jacobsen, Ford, Murray, Gray, MacLeod, Hines, Barclay, Brown. Replacements: Paterson for Walker (72), Hall for Ford (67), Low for Murray (67), Vernon for MacLeod (34), Rennie for Brown (78). Not Used: Laidlaw, Jackson.
South Africa: Kirchner, Aplon, F. Steyn, de Villiers, Mvovo, M. Steyn, Hougaard, Mtawarira, B. du Plessis, J. du Plessis, Botha, Matfield, Stegmann, Smith, Kankowski. Replacements: Lambie for M. Steyn (63), Pienaar for Hougaard (46), van der Linde for Mtawarira (71), Strauss for B. du Plessis (72), van der Merwe for Botha (65), Alberts for Stegmann (46). Not Used: Jacobs.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.