Defending champions South Africa got their Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign off to a winning start by beating Scotland 18-3 at Stade de Marseille on Sunday.

The teams went into the break with the Springboks only 6-3 ahead after two Manie Libbok penalties and one from Scotland fly-half Finn Russell.

However, in the second half the pace and power of South Africa’s game told as first Pieter-Steph du Toit muscled his way over from close range, before Kurt-Lee Arendse got on the end of Libbok’s pinpoint cross-field kick to dot down in the corner.

"Obviously I saw the space out wide and knew what I wanted to do, and managed to get it there," Libbok, the Mastercard Player of the Match, said. "I practise that stuff a lot so it was good that it came off.

"I am just stoked the first game went like it did."

Head coach Jacques Nienaber said the game was closer than the scoreline suggested: "We were only leading 6-3 at half-time after having some dominance. Scotland are a nuggety team and hats off to them. We had to grind the win out."

Scotland - 'Loads to play for'

South Africa finish the weekend second in Pool B, behind leaders Ireland who beat Romania on Saturday while Scotland head into their bye week with work to do.

“We’re going to give everybody three days off, a good chance not to think about rugby," head coach Gregor Townsend said. "Then we’ll have a 10-day preparation for Tonga, which will be tough. We know we’ve got to be much better than we were today.”

Captain Jamie Ritchie agreed: "We just couldn't execute under pressure. We pride ourselves on taking opportunities so we've got to be better. We’ve just got to dust ourselves off. I said to the guys: all the hard work we’ve put in hasn’t gone away, we’ve still got loads to play for.”