Fourie du Preez (Gallo Images)
Newcastle - It seems the loss to Japan was just a blip for the Springboks, after all.
South Africa continued its recovery from the most stunning result in Rugby World Cup history by beating Scotland 34-16 on Saturday, backing up a 40-point win over Samoa last week to go top of Pool B.
Qualification in first place looks likely now for the two-time champions, who play the United States in their last pool match on Wednesday.
"After the Japan game, the guys have been standing by each other and getting back to basics," stand-in South Africa captain Fourie du Preez said.
"It's been immense pressure, two of the most pressure games I've ever played. Not even the 2007 final was as much pressure."
There were no frills to the Springboks' play against Scotland as they reverted to tactics that have served them so well down the years - kick for territory and use their powerful pack to batter holes in the opposition defense. Those tactics created all three of their tries.
The South African forwards dominated up front at St. James' Park, setting up first-half tries for flanker Schalk Burger and winger JP Pietersen, and a late third for Bryan Habana - his 61st in tests.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard booted 19 points, missing just one of his seven kicks at goal.
Scotland dropped to second place in the group, a point behind South Africa, and may need to beat Samoa next weekend to advance ahead of Japan.
"We've gone back to basic rugby - keep it tight, keep it physical," South Africa lock Lood de Jager said.
"It worked well."