Five-tries for Scots but alarm bells still ringing
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.”
Fast start: Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg dives over for the opening try after two minutes
Star turn: Stuart McInally scores