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Scotland 19-16 Samoa

Scotland (13) 19
Try: Walker Con: Parks Pens: Parks 2, Jackson Drop-goal: Parks
Samoa (10) 16

Try: Fotualii Con: Williams Pens: Williams 3

Scotland 19-16 Samoa

Last-minute penalty gives Scotland victory

By Keir Murray

Local hero Ruaridh Jackson kicked a last-minute penalty to win the final autumn Test for Scotland against Samoa at a freezing Pittodrie in Aberdeen.

The hard-fought victory builds on the triumph over South Africa last weekend.

The physical Samoans scored the first try through Kahn Fotualii after quick thinking by George Pisi but Andy Robinson's men responded strongly.

Dan Parks' boot kept Scotland on top and Nikki Walker ran in a try before Jackson scored his late winning kick.

Parks' penalty in the third minute got the scoreboard moving, his 41st in Test matches dispatched with a familiar wallop from his right foot.

That helped to settle the home side at a bitterly cold Pittodrie against the Samoans, five places behind the sixth-placed Scots in the IRB rankings.

The emphasis in the build-up to this final autumn Test was one of caution and determination, head coach Andy Robinson constantly urging his players to forget about last week's win over world champions South Africa and to focus instead on building consistency.

One reason for Robinson's mantra was that this time last year, after a thrilling 9-8 victory over Australia, they flopped the following weekend when they were beaten 9-6 by Argentina.

Yet the first try was credited to the tourists' account.

Robinson searches for Scotland consistency

Pisi's visionary kick inside from the left wing was picked up by the advancing Seilala Mapusua of London Irish who picked up and immediately fed Fotualii to run over. Paul Williams was sure with the conversion.

Gradually, Scotland in white pushed the royal blue jerseys back and edged ahead when Parks' swift pass behind Graeme Morrison's decoy run was gratefully received by Walker.

The Ospreys player was off and running and sped directly between the posts to register Scotland's first try of the autumn Tests.

Stand-off Parks' conversion put Scotland 10-7 ahead and with that the crowd, though hunched against the sub-zero temperatures, could warm to the team and the occasion.

On the half-hour mark, 32-year-old Parks made up for an earlier, uncharacteristic penalty miss by punishing the Samoans with a successful kick between the posts.

Nikki Walker races away from Samoa's Filipo Levi
Try-scorer Nikki Walker races away from Samoa's Filipo Levi

Rory Lawson retained the captaincy of the Scots after his inspirational display against the Springboks, with Mike Blair, skipper against the All Blacks in that horrible thrashing, on the bench after a head knock forced him to miss out the second Test.

And Lawson, Scotland's number nine, had reason to demand more from his troops at half-time when Williams booted another penalty to make it 13-10.

An early error in the second half led to a penalty award for Samoa, who came north to Aberdeen on the back of defeats by Ireland and England.

A moment's hesitation by Glasgow Warriors' Richie Vernon, the one change in Scotland's line-up from last week, allowed a lobbed ball to slip through his hands and bounce off his leg and from that the Scots were left chasing...and fouling.

Williams stuck the kick through the posts to level the score, throwing into doubt if Scotland could make it five out of six Test victories.

Parks, frustrated at Scotland's failure to run in a second try and by his second penalty miss, delivered a drop goal to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

But the South Sea Islanders hit back with a ferocious assault on Scotland's back line as they sought their first win over the hosts.

First they applied pressure down the left flank and, prompted by Fotualii, camped three metres off the try line as the play moved infield. Their reward, though, was not a try but a penalty, which Williams scored from a central position.

With the score locked at 16-all, Robinson and assistant Gregor Townsend sent on Blair, Max Evans, Jim Hamilton, Moray Low and Jackson.

With the Pittodrie crowd roaring its approval, Scotland came close to scoring a vital second try. Vernon was felled a metre from the try line in the right-hand corner, but had sufficient strength to pass to Allan Jacobsen.

It would have been a fitting reward for "Chunk" to have scored a try in his 50th international appearance - a landmark achieved in this game by Sean Lamont too - but the prop was halted right on the line and the Scots had to make do with the put-in at the scrum.

Scotland were awarded a penalty in their own half with five minutes to play. Warriors stand-off Jackson, on a pitch with the same narrow dimensions as his club's home ground, pinged the kick right into the corner.

However, despite the territorial advantage, Scotland could not add to their points.

In the final minute, Jackson kicked into touch deep in the Samoan half. This time, the Scots made it count.

Iosefa Tekori was penalised and Jackson kicked between the posts to win the Test with the final kick of the game.


Scotland: H Southwell; N Walker, J Ansbro, G Morrison, S Lamont; D Parks, R Lawson (capt); A Jacobsen, R Ford, E Murray, N Hines, R Gray, K Brown, R Vernon, J Barclay.
Replacements: D Hall, M Low, J Hamilton, R Rennie, M Blair, R Jackson, M Evans.

Samoa: P Williams, D Lemi, G Pisi, S Mapusua, A Tuilagi, T Lavea, K Fotualii; S Taulafo, M Schwalger (capt), C Johnston, F Lavea Levi, K Thompson, O Trevarinus, M Salavea, G Stowers.
Replacements: T Paulo, A Perenise, I Tekori, A Aiono, J Poluleuligaga, D Leo, F Otto.



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see also
Robinson uneasy at inconsistency
27 Nov 10 |  Scottish
Vernon named in Scotland line-up
24 Nov 10 |  Scottish
Samoa look to match Scots' fight
23 Nov 10 |  Scottish
Scotland aim to build on Boks win
21 Nov 10 |  Scottish
Scotland lose MacLeod to injury
21 Nov 10 |  Scottish
Robinson hails Scotland recovery
20 Nov 10 |  Scottish
Scotland 21-17 South Africa
20 Nov 10 |  Scottish
England 26-13 Samoa
20 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 3-49 New Zealand
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union


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