Good afternoon! Two sides that will be expecting to progress to the quarter-finals are preparing to get their third match underway at the Rugby World Cup
as unbeaten Scotland take on two-time champions South Africa
. Let's start with a look at the teams.
SOUTH AFRICA STARTING XV: Mtawarira, B Du Plessis, J Du Plessis, Etzebeth, De Jager, Louw, Burger, Vermeulen, De Preez, Pollard, Habana, De Allende, Kriel, Pietersen, Le Roux
SCOTLAND STARTING XV: Reid, Brown, Nel, R Gray, K Gray, Strauss, Cowan, Denton, Laidlaw, Weir, Visser, Scott, Vernon, Seymour, Hogg
South Africa suffered a big loss in their win over Samoa last time out, with captain Jean de Villiers suffering a fractured jaw. He's since announced his international retirement, and with vice captain Victor Matfield missing out this afternoon, Fourie du Preez
captains the side.
Pascal Lemesre is in Newcastle for Sports Mole
this evening to follow the action. Here are his pre-match thoughts:
"True sporting theatre at St James' Park and the first of three matches in Newcastle should be a belter. Scotland must be faster out of the blocks than they have been so far if they are to stand a chance of upsetting the Springboks. Given that we're not far from the border, you would have thought that there would be tons of Scotland fans, but there is South African green and gold everywhere."
South Africa were heavily supported for their match against Samoa at Villa Park last weekend, but it's estimated that 100,000 Scots have made the short journey across the border for this match, and they seem to dominate the crowd.
The players make their way out of the tunnel ready for kickoff. As always, then anthems of both teams will be played before the action gets underway.
Here's the scene at St James's Park as kickoff approaches:
Pascal Lemesre reports from St James's Park:
"There were chants of Bokke, Bokke, Bokke before the teams came out, but the Scotland fans won the anthem-off there. Incredible noise inside the stadium, hoping for a close game!"
KICKOFF! South Africa get the match underway.
South Africa have the ball in the opening minutes, with Schalk Burger
and De Jager both trying to get the ball forward, before Pollard kicks it towards the Scotland 22, where it goes out for a lineout.
South African-born Josh Strauss gets involved for the first time for Scotland, charging forward from the lineout, but a forward pass to Visser results in a scrum for South Africa. Referee Nigel Owens warns the packs that it is a football surface, so could cut up.
De Jager is penalised for tackling in the air, so it's a Scotland penalty, which is kicked into South Africa territory for a lineout. Vermuelen manages to steal it for the Springboks, but a sloppy offside from JP Pietersen, who had a hat-trick last week, gives the ball straight back to Vern Cotter
South Africa's power in the scrum is showing early on, with the Springboks really pressuring Scotland. As the referee warned, the pitch it being cut up, but that doesn't seem to be bothering South Africa.
Visser suddenly gets the ball out wide for Vernon, who is brought down by Pietersen before he can take it all the way for the try. Visser has looked particularly lively on the left in the opening stages.
Le Roux makes an excellent pas out wide for Pietersen, before Burger and Du Preez also get involved. South Africa are really testing the Scotland defence.
South Africa try to use their power to stretch the ball across the line. Soemthing has upset the two sides as Burger attempts to ground the ball though, and there's a bit of pushing and shoving between the two sides.
TRY! South Africa 5-0 Scotland (Schalk Burger)
After the players calm themselves, the referee calls for the TMO to take a look at the ball as it was forced across the line. Burger appears to be held up as he attempts to get it down, but Bismarck du Plessus manages to force it down, although it's still in Burger's hands, so he's awarded the score.
CONVERSION! South Africa 7-0 Scotland (Handre Pollard)
Pascal Lemesre is watching on at St James's Park:
"Hardly surprising to see both teams at boiling point after a ferocious, hard-hitting opening 10 minutes. Cotter will have been fairly pleased, but with that TMO decision going against his side, they are up against it now."
PENALTY! South Africa 10-0 Scotland (Handre Pollard)
South Africa try to drive from a lineout, but there's an infringement by Scotland, so Pollard goes for the posts, making it two from two so far today.
Scotland's lineout has been looking a little shaky in the early stages of this match, and it goes astray again as De Jager beats Gray to the ball in the air. South Africa have a scrum, which they get the ball out from, but it's kicked forward, leaving Cowan and Richie Gray to run at the South Africa line.
is penalised for blocking as South Africa give chase to a Du Preez kick forward. If South Africa can score from this move Scotland will really be under pressure. Habana and Bismarck du Plessis
both get touches at the Springboks look for a way through, but Scotland have numbers back.
Le Roux passes out wide to Bismarck du Plessis
, who has Habana outside him, but he tries to kick it through for himself, but it's blocked. The Springboks work it across the other side for Du Preez, but Visser is able to stop him getting across, but there was a penalty earlier in the move, so Pollard will go for the posts again.
PENALTY! South Africa 13-0 Scotland (Handre Pollard)
Pascal Lemesre reports from Newcastle:
"As in their first two matches, Scotland are really struggling in the first half. They've barely caused the Springboks any problems and it looks like they'll need another big second 40 to get anything out of this match."
PENALTY! South Africa 13-3 Scotland (Greig Laidlaw)
gets Scotland on the board, slicing the ball through from a tight angle. South Africa are on the move straight from the restart though, with Etzebeth and Louw both moving the ball closer to the Scotland 22.
SIN BIN! Jannie du Plessis will miss the next 10 minutes. He's already been warned by Nigel Owens once for not using his arms while tackling in the ruck. He's made another hit though, charging into the head and neck of Reid, so he's going to the sin bin, despite pleading his innocence.
MISSED PENALTY! Greig Laidlaw gets another shot at the posts as a result of De Plessis's infringement, but the scrum-half's kick doesn't curl around enough, falling short of the posts.
Scotland have been seeing the majority of the ball since the Springboks had a player sent to the sin bin, but a handling error by Laidlaw allows Habana to knock the ball away from the scrum-half, setting up the Springboks for a charge back towards the Scotland 22.
South Africa have the lineout, with Du Plessis launching it in for De Jager. The two-time champions drive, and are clearly keen to add to the score before the break.
TRY! South Africa 18-3 Scotland (JP Pietersen)
JP Pietersen scored a hat-trick last week, and is on the scoresheet again today as he uses his footwork to round a couple of Scotland players and pounce for the try line to extend South Africa's lead just before the break.
CONVERSION! South Africa 20-3 Scotland (Handre Pollard)
HALF TIME: South Africa 20-3 Scotland
So, at half time tries from Schalk Burger and JP Pietersen help South Africa to a comfortable lead over Scotland. Even with a player in the sin bin towards the end of the period, the Springboks continued to dominate, resulting in the second try just before the interval. It will need to be a big performance from Scotland to overturn the deficit in the second half.
Unsurprisingly, South Africa have had more of the territory in the opening 40 minutes with 65%, as well as 58% possession. They've made almost twice as many metres on the attack as the Scots, with 225m to Scotland's 132m. Scotland have made more tackles, 75 compared to 54 from South Africa, but they've had to to try to get the ball back from their opponents.
Here are Pascal Lemesre's thoughts at half time from St James's Park:
"That try just before the break is an absolute killer for Scotland, who were very much in the game at 13-3. They're now 17 behind and surely can't blow away another team in the second half? They've scored 33 points after the break in their first two contests and you feel something similar is needed here. As it stands, the Boks are going top of the group ahead of the final round of fixtures."
Lood de Jager had an impressive opening 40 minutes for South Africa, making several important tackles, as well as getting involved going forward. He wears the number five shirt ahead of injured vice captain Victor Matfield this evening, but he's staking a claim a holding the shirt outright once the veteran lock is fit again.
© Getty Images
The players are heading back out ready for the start of the second half at St James's Park.
RESTART! South Africa get the action back underway.
Schalk Burger knocks the ball out of Denton's grasp as Scotland try to get forward early in this second half. Laidlaw isn't going for the posts though, kicking it deep for a lineout near the try line.
Laidlaw and Jonny Gray both get touches as Scotland beat down on the try line, but there's an illegal challenge from Vermeulen, resulting in another penalty for the Scots. Meanwhile, South Africa are back up to 15, with Jannie du Plessis's spell in the sin bin coming to an end.
PENALTY! South Africa 20-6 Scotland (Greig Laidlaw)
Hogg isn't happy when Mtawarira collides with him while he's waiting to collect a kick forward. The beast, as the South African prop is known, was already committed to the tackle. Nigel Owens makes it clear to Hogg that he doesn't want to see diving again, telling him to come back to St James's Park in two weeks , when Newcastle United play at home, if he's going to dive like that again.
TRY! South Africa 20-11 Scotland (Tommy Seymour)
Just as Scotland are starting to look really under the cosh, Vern Cotter
's side come up with a huge counter-attacking move, leaving Tommy Seymour
to weave through the middle before cutting out wide and diving over in the corner.
CONVERSION! South Africa 20-13 Scotland (Greig Laidlaw)
This stat suggests that Scotland can get back into this match in the second half. They've certainly started well:
Just as Scotland are starting to get back into this match, Greig Laidlaw makes a silly error, tripping Bryan Habana
with a late and needless challenge, leaving Nigel Owens with the easy decision to reach for the yellow card.
DROP GOAL! South Africa 23-13 Scotland (Handre Pollard)
Pascal Lemesre reports from Newcastle following Tommy Seymour's try:
"Brilliant from the Scots and just what this game needed. Huge credit must go to Weir for the way he sidestepped the challenge of Pietersen in the centre before surging into Springbok territory. All the momentum is now back with South Africa after that drop goal and yellow card, though."
Scotland have a lineout, with Richie Gray and Blair Cowan both making their size work to their advantage to get the ball out. Weir and Vernon push towards the try line, but South Africa still have an extra ban while Laidlaw serves his sin bin spell, allowing the Springboks to shut them out.
From a scrum, De Preez launches the ball out wide to Le Roux, while Burger and Pollard also pass the ball around, but Cowan wins it back for Scotland following a knock on. Another knock on from JP Pietersen leaves Scotland with a penalty, which Weir kicks into South Africa territory. Scotland could have really struggled with Laidlaw in the sin bin, but they're coping brilliantly.
Weir chips the ball forward following the lineout, with Tim Visser giving chase looking for the try. JP Pietersen is back as well though, and beats the winger to the ball. An earlier infringement means that Scotland still have a penalty though.
PENALTY! South Africa 23-16 Scotland (Duncan Weir)
Weir takes charge of the kicking while Laidlaw continues to serve the final couple of minutes of his yellow card, and he makes no mistake, kicking it right through the middle to leave Scotland just a converted try behind.
PENALTY! South Africa 26-16 Scotland (Handre Pollard)
South Africa have a chance to go for the posts, and with Scotland just a converted try down, Handre Pollard
wants the three points, booting it through from almost 50 metres out with distance to spare. It's an impressive bit of kicking from the young fly-half.
Scotland have been dealt on injury blow, with Stuart Hogg picking up a leg injury a few minutes ago. He had tried to push through it, but after limping for a few minutes, he's replaced by Sean Lamont.
Scotland are back up to 15, with Laidlaw returning from the sin bin. However, it's still South Africa in control, with Strauss powering forward before passing to Burger. Du Preez kicks it forward for Pietersen, but this time he's beaten to the ball in the air.
PENALTY! South Africa 29-16 Scotland (Handre Pollard)
Scotland may have stopped the try, but Denton is penalised for not rolling away in the build up, so it comes back for the penalty, and Handre Pollard
continues his kicking masterclass with another well struck effort through the uprights.
Pascal Lemesre has an update from St James's Park:
"A 13-point lead is surely too much for Scotland to overturn in the final 12 minutes. Pollard has been excellent with the boot and justified his selection over Pat Lambie. Hogg had his head in his hands when he walked past us on the touchline and Scotland will hope that it's nothing too serious as it would be a huge blow to lose him for the rest of the tournament."
JP Pietersen might be a little lucky to remain on the pitch for the final 10 minutes as the winger as charged into Swinson, seemingly dropping him on his shoulders, but the referee is happy after watching the replays that it wasn't an intentional tip tackle, so he just awards the penalty, which is kicked for a lineout.
A number of the Scotland replacements are trying to make their presence felt in the final stages, with Swinson and Dickinson passing the ball around in the middle, but Scott gives away the turnover, allowing the Springboks to charge down the other end. Lambie passes out wide for Habana, who had a try from a similar position last week, but he's quickly tackled short of the Scotland 22.
TRY! South Africa 34-16 Scotland (Bryan Habana)
Bryan Habana does get across in the end, picking up the ball a couple of metres out before grounding the ball at maximum stretch in the left corner.
Here's the latest from Pascal Lemesre in Newcastle:
"Game over. And you have to say that the Springboks deserve it. They've been dominant throughout and bar a couple of bright moments, Scotland have been outclassed. My man of the match? De Jager. He's been superb all afternoon with his tackling and surging runs forward."
As the match heads into the final five minutes, there's still time for South Africa to secure the bonus point, with the Springboks needing one more try for the extra point. Scotland have a scrum though, on a pitch that is really starting to look rather rough.
Scotland win another penalty, which Laidlaw boots deep for a lineout. Denton tries to create something from it but it's knocked on, so South Africa get the ball back.
From the scrum, South Africa get the ball back. They could put it out to end the match, but they still want the bonus point. It's kicked forward for Habana, who shows blistering pace as he tries to chase it down, but Scott manages to kick it out.
FULL TIME: South Africa 34-16 Scotland
So, South Africa survive a strong start to the second half from Scotland to secure their second win of the tournament, with tries from Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen and Schalk Burger wrapping up the win. It's enough to take them to the top of the Pool B table with just one match remaining.
So, that's all from this match, but stick around as we'll have live coverage of England's must-win match against Australia shortly. Until then, thanks for joining me this evening. Goodbye.