Scotland A 21 - 22 Ireland A
The recent history of agonising defeats against our neighbours from across the North Channel was maintained in the third place play-off match in the Barclays Churchill Cup at Twickenham this afternoon. A cracking try from Scotland A wing Thom Evans two minutes into injury time gave Calum MacRae the chance to win the match but his conversion drifted across the posts.
The recent history of agonising defeats against our neighbours from across the North Channel was maintained in the third place play-off match in the Barclays Churchill Cup at Twickenham this afternoon.
A cracking try from Scotland A wing Thom Evans two minutes into injury time gave Calum MacRae the chance to win the match but his conversion drifted across the posts.
Thus the Scots finished the competition with two defeats and a lone win against the USA and head coach Frank Hadden admitted to some irritation.
”It was a frustrating afternoon for us. We got very close and had a chance at the death to win it with a kick. I thought Ireland A always had a slight edge over us in the tight five. We did though make so many line breaks today and it was also frustrating that we couldn’t finish more of them off,” he said.
Hadden and his fellow coaches, George Graham and Alan Tait, will now look to finalise their World Cup training squad of around 38, which will be announced early next week.
In todays game Ireland A saw two goal attempts rebound off the uprights and that fate also befell MacRae when Scotland A needed a score in the third quarter.
Scrum-half Rob Chrystie was uncharacteristically sluggish in the early stages and when his service was disrupted, Irish centre Darren Cave threatened off the turnover.
Scotland were penalised for offside but Jonathan Sexton’s penalty came off the left upright and Simon Danielli sparked a Scottish counter-attack, ably embellished by Graeme Morrison. Ireland were penalised at the breakdown and Calum MacRae gave Scotland A the lead with his sixth minute goal.
Chrystie’s miserable start continued as he had a goal-line clearance kick charged down by his opposite number, Frank Murphy, who followed up for the try. The score was ill-reward for Evans who had done well to police a Keith Earls kick-ahead in the Scotland 22.
The conversion was missed by Sexton but Ireland did not take long to extend their lead. From the second of two close-range scrummages, they attacked in open-field and then switched ball left for No 8 Roger Wilson to cross. Sexton converted and Ireland A led 12-3 after 14 minutes.
From the kick-off Scotland A responded as the largely subdued Johnnie Beattie gathered a loose ball and found Alasdair Dickinson. The prop released Scott Lawson and his front-row pal did remarkably well, stretching acrobatically over his shoulder in Paul McKenzie’s tackle to win a positive verdict from the Television Match Official. Lawson’s try was converted superbly from the touchline by MacRae and Scotland A now trailed by just two points.
A soft penalty conceded by blood substitute John Barclay for hands in a ruck saw Sexton edge Ireland further ahead but just short of the half hour MacRae pulled back the three points with a fine penalty from two metres inside his own half.
In first half injury time, Irish lock Ryan Caldwell was yellow carded for foul play against Mark Rennie but MacRae’s goal attempt from shorter-range was miscued.
Scotland made a welter of substitutes for the restart but defences dominated as MacRae had the misfortune to see his 54th minute penalty rebound off the left upright.
At the other end Phil Godman’s abortive clearance did not find touch from inside his 22, thus enabling the Irish to gain a foothold in Scotland’s danger zone and, sure enough, their pressure was crowned with a Keith Earls try, converted by substitute Ian Keatley.
With five minutes of normal time remaining, MacRae, who had taken on the captaincy duties in Macfadyen’s absence, landed his third penalty after Evans had at last been released in space and had cruised past Cave on the outside to set up the chance.
There was certainly nothing amiss with the Scots’ fitness as two minutes into injury time Nick De Luca, who had deputised admirably for the injured Danielli (groin) at full-back, transferred to Evans. He stepped off his right foot then had the strength to break out of a tackle and touch down for the Scots’ second try.
Alas it was unconverted and though Keatley missed a penalty that would have given Ireland a safer cushion, Scotland knocked on in attempting to keep the ball alive and saw their last chance disappear.
Scotland A: Simon Danielli (Border Reivers); Simon Webster (Edinburgh Rugby), Calum MacRae (Border Reivers)*, Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), Thom Evans (Glasgow Warriors); Phil Godman (Edinburgh Rugby), Rob Chrystie (Border Reivers); Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh Rugby)*, Scott Lawson (Glasgow Warriors)*, Craig Smith (Edinburgh Rugby), Andrew Hall (Newport Gwent Dragons), Mark Rennie (Bourgoin), Alasdair Strokosch (Edinburgh Rugby)*, Johnnie Beattie (Glasgow Warriors)*, Donnie Macfadyen (Glasgow Warriors)* CAPTAIN
Subs: John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors)* for Macfadyen (12-22 mins); Nick De Luca (Border Reivers) for Danielli (13 mins), Craig Hamilton (Border Reivers) for Hall, Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors)* for Lawson and Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) for Smith (all 40 mins), Mark McMillan (London Wasps)* for Chrystie (44 mins), Barclay for Beattie (52 mins), Steve Swindall (Glasgow Warriors) for Macfadyen (64 mins)
* = Member of Scottish Institute of Sport
Ireland A: Johne Murphy; Paul McKenzie, Darren Cave, Seamus Mallon, Keith Earls; Jonathan Sexton, Frank Murphy; John Lyne, John Fogarty captain, Michael Ross, Ryan Caldwell, Andrew Farley, John Muldoon, Roger Wilson, Johnny O’Connor.
Subs: Sean Cronin, Declan Fitzpatrick, Devin Toner, John O’Sullivan, Chris Keane, Ian Keatley, Fergus McFadden
Referee: Andrew Small (England)