“The boys are absolutely devastated about the result. The second half was far from where we needed to be and it cost us.”
Last Updated: 13/11/21 8:24pm
Scotland captain Stuart Hogg brushed off his historic double against South Africa as he bemoaned the self-destructive errors that led to a 30-15 defeat.
Scotland led the world champions 10-8 at half-time and Hogg gave them hope with his second try, which took him level on 24 with Tony Stanger and Ian Smith on top of the all-time try-scorers list for his country.
The Springboks also managed two tries, both through winger Makazole Mapimpi, but they kicked their way to success on the back of a 15-9 penalty count in their favour.
Finn Russell missed several kicks he might have expected to do better with, but three penalties in the final 15 minutes took South Africa out of sight.
“I’m bitterly disappointed with the result,” Hogg said. “Especially in the first half, we felt we were in control of the game. The first 20 minutes we defended like our lives depended on it and kept them out and went down the other end of the field and scored three points. That was huge for us.
“We started very well defensively and unfortunately second half didn’t quite go to plan. The boys are absolutely devastated about the result. The second half was far from where we needed to be and it cost us.
“You could say the Springboks were dominant, I would probably disagree. I would say we shot ourselves in the foot at times.
“We didn’t get to vital clear-outs, our set-piece didn’t function at times, we just didn’t control the game in the manner we would like to.”
Hogg was in no mood to celebrate his personal achievement.
“It’s not about that,” the Exeter full-back said. “It’s about winning Test matches, it’s about being in a position to keep the momentum going as a national side.
“Maybe in a couple of hours I will calm down a bit, I will maybe think back on that, but my focus is to make sure we recover well and the boys are physically and mentally in a great place come Monday.”
Hogg was able to find some positives.
“We got into good positions, we wanted method in the madness and move South Africa around, a game plan that they don’t want,” he said. “A game plan we do want is to keep high tempo and keep moving around and show off our individual talents.
“At times we didn’t quite reload quickly enough to be accurate. But there were a lot of good things, we played in the right areas, and another day we keep that scoreboard ticking over.
“But at times we missed these vital clear-outs and that’s what killed us. We allowed South Africa to get into their game.
“They want to slow it down and kick to the corner and get their set-piece going. Unfortunately we gave them an avenue into the game at times. That’s not what we are about.”
Head coach Gregor Townsend admitted the game had got away from his side late on.
“The first half the team performed so well with so little ball,” he said.
“Second half was really disappointing. We gave them a really quick way into the game.
“We had to work really hard to get back into the game and at times we didn’t have enough ball to do that, but I was so proud of the way the team did come back and got in a position to kick on.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t us that kicked on in that last 15 minutes. The last 15 minutes was disappointing, it wasn’t who we are or where we are as a team.
“The defeat will stick for a while because we didn’t put our best performance out there. We felt our best performance would get a win. That will hurt for a few days.”
South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber credited Scotland’s defence as the reason his side were trailing at half-time.
“I thought the first half, especially the first 12 minutes, we applied a lot of pressure to Scotland,” he said.
“We struggled to convert and that’s probably down to their quality defence.
“It’s the best defence in the northern hemisphere in the past two years.”