Scotland ensured a quarter-final berth at the 2015 Rugby World Cup thanks to a 36-33 win against Samoa in a scintillating clash at St James’ Park on Saturday. The Scots were outscored four tries to three but it did not matter as the Samoans crashed out with just the one win in this campaign against the United States of America. Vern Cotter’s crop received the first penalty of the match in the second minute for obstructive running.
Finn Russell released the pressure by setting up a line out on halfway. Manu Samoa were awarded another penalty as the British side brought their driving maul to ground illegally. Tusi Pisi had a shot at goal from around 35 metres out and slightly to the right of the upright which he landed.
There was a try to Cotter’s men in the 11 minute. The TMO ruled that it was general play and that the Pacific Islanders knocked the ball into Tommy Seymour, who collected to go over. Greig Laidlaw converted easily.
Moments later the south sea side was over the line straight from the kick-off. Rey Lee-Lo secured the ball before the Polynesian players kicked up field, Pisi then delayed his pass brilliantly and Ma’atulimanu Leiataua got over untouched. Pisi failed to convert but it was still 15-10 to the men in white.
The two-time World Cup quarter-finalists scored another try in the 20th minute after an initial break that put the navy jerseys on the back foot and the centre finished it off in the left-hand corner. Pisi again failed to convert and a penalty to Scotland in the 30th minute for offside play would see the Highlanders opt to set up a line out in the Samoan 22 metre area. An excellent rolling maul by the Scots saw them rumbling over the line with John Hardie having the ball in hand.
Laidlaw converted and it would be 23-23 at half-time in what was a pulsating fixture on Tyneside. Samoa gifted Scotland a penalty early in the second half with some silly cross-running, causing obstruction. The second half was a much closer affair and it took until the 73rd minute for Scotland to go over courtesy of Laidlaw, who sniped in from close range before stretching for the line to score.
Three minutes before full-time, Samoa scored a try after Motu Matu’u forced his way over after receiving an inside pass from Jack Lam. Although the try was converted it was not enough as Cotter’s players booked a quarter-final place with Laidlaw the hero with 26 points on the day.
Photo credit: SNS/Scottish Rugby