Scotland may have dictated and dominated play for 50 minutes at
Lasswade but it was South Africa who scored five tries in the last
quarter to triumph 41-17 and take the series 2-0, extending their
unbeaten run in 2010 to four matches.
The greater physicality of the South Africans, who had won the first test 27-8 at the same venue in Edinburgh last weekend, told in the last 30 minutes as they turned a 17-7 deficit into a comfortable looking victory and a fourth successive win away from home this year.
Lorinda Brown crossed for two tries either side of fly half Zenay Jordaan's score to give South Africa the lead for the only second time in the match, but they were not finished there with Jordaan and Lamla Momoti touching down to seal the comeback victory.
South Africa may have emerged victorious to clinch another series win - having beaten Kazakhstan 2-0 in April, recording their first ever away wins in the process - but the way their hosts were able to dictate play was of concern to coach Denver Wannies.
"We won because of our better conditioning and applying the basics in the second half. We knew Scotland would come with passion and commitment and they did not disappoint us," explained Wannies.
"However, we allowed them to dictate matters for far too long and then we also had a yellow card just before half time. We can draw a lot of inspiration from our second half performance and I feel that overall we did much better than what we hoped for."
Scotland had made seven changes from the first test, coach Gary Parker eager to get their Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 preparations back on track, and they had the desired effect with the home side taking the lead after only three minutes with Nicola Halfpenny's penalty.
South Africa hit back when captain Mandisa Williams, again turning in a player of the match performance from the back row, capitalised on some Scottish errors to pounce on a loose ball as it crossed the line, Zandile Nojoko's conversion making it 7-3 to the visitors.
The home side narrowed the gap with another Halfpenny penalty, before some good momentum from their forward pack resulted in a try for prop Heather Lockhart. South Africa lost centre Daphne Scheepers to the sin-bin eight minutes before half time, but nearly scored despite this advantage.
However, it was Scotland who ultimately increased their lead with Halfpenny's third penalty of the day sending her side in with an 11-7 advantage at half time. The full back then add another penalty early in the second half before Nojoko brought South Africa back to within a converted try.
Positives in defeat
South Africa's strong finish ensured there would be no victory for Scotland on home soil, although Scotland coach Parker was able to find some positives from the loss, which came in a match that saw captain Lynne Reid win her 50th cap.
"This time last week I couldn't find any positives in the team's performance, but today, for 50 minutes, we looked a fantastic side. That's probably the best period of rugby these girls have played as a team," said Parker.
"When the South Africans got their momentum in the second half we couldn't break their flow, but we did a lot of good things and the scoreboard might not reflect that. I know a lot of the girls are really hurting with that result."
South Africa will now return home for two training camps before returning to the British shores to face three-time defending champions New Zealand, RWC Sevens champions Australia and Wales in Pool A at the Women's Rugby World Cup from 20 August to 5 September.
Parker, meanwhile, will shortly select his squad for the tournament and will also have a non-cap match with Ireland on 18 July to fine tune preparations for the World Cup, where they will face France, Canada and Sweden in Pool C.