EDINBURGH – Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus defended the character of Siya Kolisi after the possibility of a citing against his captain emerged in the aftermath of South Africa's hard-fought 26-20 win against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Television footage appeared to show Kolisi's head making contact with the head of Peter Horne as he tried to extricate himself from being pinned to the floor by the Scotland centre towards the end of a pulsating Edinburgh encounter.
"I really haven't seen it," said Erasmus, whose team finish their European tour against Wales in Cardiff next Saturday.
"I can't comment on something I didn't see myself, but I know the person and the man he is, so it would surprise me.
"I'm pretty sure the citing commissioner will do his job there. Whatever it is – if it's serious and Siya's in the wrong, then what comes our way we have to accept. But I haven't seen the incident so I can't really comment."
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said: "Someone mentioned it to me in the tunnel but I've not seen it."
Erasmus praised his side for their growing maturity after following their dramatic late 29-26 victory against France in Paris by becoming only the second team in two years to beat Scotland on their own patch.
In a Springbok success inspired by fly-half Handre Pollard, whose 18-point haul featured a try, two conversions and three penalties, Erasmus' charges emulated the world champion All Blacks, whose 22-17 win at Murrayfield 12 months ago is the only other Scotland defeat in 12 home matches.
"I think we won this Test match because we're learning slowly," said Erasmus, whose side's other points came courtesy of a Jesse Kriel try and an Elton Jantjies penalty. "I think the team is getting maturity in tight situations, in closing or trying to win games.
"We're definitely not the finished product but slowly we're definitely growing into a better team. Today we beat a team that's been on a great run and is really a force in world rugby."
Erasmus is now in credit as South Africa's coach, with seven wins and six losses from 13 matches.
Crucially, in his team's last four matches on the road, they have beaten New Zealand, been unlucky to lose 12-11 to England and claimed back-to-back victories against France in Paris and Scotland in Edinburgh.
"Normally, the more inexperienced players you have, with less caps, you struggle away," said Erasmus.
"We're getting over that hurdle now. The young players are starting to feel comfortable away from home. We didn't play well at stages today but we were gutsy."
Horne and flanker Hamish Watson scored tries for Scotland but Townsend's team failed to take advantage when Springbok fullback Willie le Roux was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and also spurned two kickable penalty chances in favour of line-out drives that came to nothing.
"In hindsight it's easy," reflected scrum-half and captain Greig Laidlaw, who returned a flawless place-kicking record of two penalties and two conversions.
"I thought about kicking the points. Potentially we could have moved the scoreboard on.
"We had opportunities to win the game, so we're pretty frustrated, but we've got to give South Africa credit for the way they defended and slowed up the ball."AFP