Bobby Skinstad spearheaded an inexorable Springboks revival that swept the world champions to an emphatic five-try victory after they had spent half the afternoon struggling to impose their authority on the Scots on Saturday. The exciting 22-year-old Western Province openside used his athletic skills and adaptability to generate the momentum that enabled the 'Boks to score 24 points in a one-sided second half.
It was further proof that the Springboks, who have won 16 internationals on the trot, have the capacity to dig themselves out of trouble whatever pitfalls their opponents dream up.
If Skinstad was the Springboks' main inspiration, their captain, Gary Teichmann, was never far behind in carrying the ball into the eye of the storm and setting a committed example that steadily doused Scotland's fire.
Scotland were unable to profit from a 15-7 penalty count in their favour, a reflection of the Springboks' failure to come to terms with the European interpretation of tackle law by the English referee Chris White.
Duncan Hodge, preferred to Gregor Townsend at fly-half, missed kickable penalties and marred his positive general play by giving away an interception try, Pieter Rossouw collecting his chip kick and racing to the line.
For a lengthy period it was hard to shake off the suspicion that the Springboks had dropped down a gear and were doing just enough to pin down the industrious Scots in harmless areas of the field. Each time the 'Boks decided to raise their game they usually scored a try. The Scottish forwards were happiest when they stood toe to toe with their counterparts. However, once Skinstad, Johan Erasmus and the scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen began sniping around the fringes, it needed a prodigious effort by Eric Peters and Peter Walton to stop the green shirts running amok.
The Scotland coach Jim Telfer was relieved to have avoided a repeat of last year's 68-10 defeat by the Springboks. "We can take as much pride in our performance as South Africa," he said. "I cannot fault our effort - John Leslie at centre brought an extra dimension to our play."
Scotland did themselves no favours by bringing on their substitute backs Kenny Logan and Gary Armstrong long after the cause was lost.
By then Hodge's 28th-minute try at the posts was a distant memory. From the moment Erasmus sent Stefan Terblanche racing clear for the Boks' first try just before half-time, there was only one outcome in prospect.
In the second half Van der Westhuizen snaffled the ball from Alan Tait on halfway before sprinting to the line; Andre Snyman scorched home close to the posts; and Rossouw was swift to punish Hodge's carelessness. At the death, Skinstad got his name on the scoresheet with a spectacular gallop to the posts. It was business as usual for the 'Boks.
Scotland: Lee, Tait, Mayer, J Leslie, C Murray, Hodge, Redpath, Smith, Bulloch, Burnell, S Murray, Weir, Walton, Peters, Poutney. Replacements: Townsend for Lee (17 mins), M Leslie for Walton (51 mins), Hilton for Burnell (57 mins), Logan for Tait (71 mins), Armstrong for Redpath (77 mins). Not used: Grimes, Brotherstone.
South AfriMontgomery, Terblanche, Snyman, Stewart, Rossouw, Honiball, Van der Westhuizen, Kempson, Dalton, Garvey, Otto, Andrews, Erasmus, Teichmann, Skinstad. Replacements: Le Roux for Garvey (51 mins), Venter for Otto (57 mins). Not used: du Toit, Smith, Swanepoel, Krige, Drotske. Referee: C White (England).