Five-tries for Scots but alarm bells still ring­ing

The Rugby Paper - - Autumn Internationals - ■ By GARY HEATLY

SCOT­LAND de­feated Samoa to get their au­tumn Test cam­paign off to a win­ning start, but they know their de­fence will have to im­prove with the All Blacks com­ing to town next Satur­day.

In Gre­gor Townsend’s first home match in charge his side ran in six tries and Samoa bagged five in Ed­in­burgh as 82 points were shared at a sold-out Mur­ray­field.

Townsend said: “We are pleased to get the win as any win helps con­fi­dence grow, but we know that we let Samoa back into things in the last half an hour and we will have to look at that.

“In gen­eral our at­tack was good and the speed we want to play at was there while we handed out four de­buts so there is plenty to build on this week.”

Scot­land skip­per John Bar­clay added: “It is a strange one. We are happy with the win, but the guys know we can do bet­ter. Samoa are a tough side, though, and we will learn a lot from this.”

The home side got off to the per­fect start when they scored a try within two min­utes.

It came af­ter a turnover on the halfway line and stand-off Finn Rus­sell dinked a neat kick through. His winger Tommy Sey­mour hoofed the loose ball into the Samoa 22 and when the ball bounced awk­wardly for the de­fence full-back Stu­art Hogg ben­e­fit­ted to score.

In the 10th minute Samoa had their first chance to get points on the board, but stand-off Tim Nanai-Wil­liams’ penalty at­tempt fell well short.

The same man did hold his nerve two min­utes later though to make things 7-3.

A Rus­sell penalty then put Scot­land 10-3 up and Scot­land were on the front foot at this stage, a sec­ond penalty mak­ing it 13-3 af­ter 25 min­utes.

In the 28th minute Samoa sec­ond row Josh Tyrell barged over for a try un­der the posts af­ter the ref­eree checked with the TMO.

Nanai-Wil­liams con­verted and it was 13-10.

But Scot­land re­sponded with two tries be­fore half­time.

The first came thanks to a strong run by cen­tre Huw Jones, his fifth try in nine games for his coun­try.

The sec­ond right on half­time then made Scot­land’s lead 25-10, hooker Stu­art McI­nally go­ing over with Rus­sell con­vert­ing.

McI­nally, not noted for his try scor­ing, grabbed his sec­ond of the match in the 47th minute and with Rus­sell’s con­ver­sion mak­ing it 32-10 they looked in con­trol.

Samoa had other ideas, though. Back row Pi­ula Fa’asalele and Nana Wil­liams both went over for con­verted tries to make it 32-24 with 17 min­utes to go.

A try by cen­tre Alex Dun­bar gave Scot­land some breath­ing space, but the vis­i­tors fourth try came from cen­tre Kieron Fono­tia.

A try from re­place­ment Pete Horne in the 75th minute, con­verted by the same man, was fol­lowed by a Samoa try by Ofisa Tre­vi­ranus con­verted by Nanai-Wil­liams ended things at 44-38 af­ter a crazy sec­ond half.

But those four sec­ond­half tries given up to Samoa will be caus­ing coach Townsend con­cern.

And he ad­mit­ted: “We have got to make sure we don’t give up pos­ses­sion in our half as cheaply and we de­fend much bet­ter when we play the All Blacks.

“But credit to Samoa, they played re­ally good rugby. The first 15 min­utes, they kept a lot of ball, they at­tacked ei­ther through the for­wards or out wide, and when we gave them op­por­tu­ni­ties, whether it was mis­takes off our restart or er­rors within our half, they made the most of them.

“They took their chances and their for­wards were strong car­ri­ers. But this first game is his­tory now, we need to be bet­ter next week.”

PIC­TURE: TRP photographer

Fast start: Scot­land full-back Stu­art Hogg dives over for the open­ing try af­ter two min­utes

Star turn: Stu­art McI­nally scores

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