Scotland Stars Against States

Scotland’s second stanza surge saw them take top spot in Pool B at the Rugby World Cup with a 39-16 win over the United States of America in Leeds.  The Scots scored four tries, three in the second period, after trailing at the break to complete the bonus point victory.  AJ MacGinty knocked over a third minute penalty to put the Americans in the lead. 

Stuart Hogg powered a penalty over from just past the half-way line to level matters three minutes later.  On 15 minutes the Europeans were in front thanks to a three-pointer from Finn Russell on this occasion.  In the 21st minute the USA were over the line.  After a line out on the 22, Titi Lamisotele forced his way over after the third phase and MacGinty added the extras.

Russell and Hogg both missed a penalty apiece but MacGinty had time to kick one more over in an entertaining half that ended 13-6 to Mike Tolkin’s team.  Just 80 seconds in to the second half former Lions captain Josh Strauss beat the US defence before being brought down and from the resulting ruck Tim Visser was played in and the wing made his way over but Russell could not equalise form the kicking tee.  Sean Maitland was the next man to cross the line for the Highlanders when Russell offloaded after some good forward play to send the winger through.

Russell could not miss from right in front and it was 18-13 to the British team.  In the 51st minute MacGinty booted over another three-pointer in what was proving to be a tight and exciting encounter at Elland Road.  The Scottish surge continued three minutes later when South African-born substitute WP Nel dove over from close range under the posts and Greig Laidlaw ensured the gap was up to nine points. 

On 65 minutes Matt Scott beat two North American defenders to secure the bonus point for Cotter’s crop and thanks to Laidlaw the score was 32-16.  There was time for Duncan Weir to crash over with just over a minute left to play to complete a fine day for Scotland.  South Africa would have taken notice of the men in navy and their two bonus point wins to date.  The Springboks play the Scots on Saturday in Newcastle in what is likely to be a pool-deciding fixture at St James’ Park.

Photo credit: SNS/Scottish Rugby