A heartbreaking Samoan stoppage time drop-goal tipped Scotland under-20s’ evenly fought IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship opener in the favour of the South Sea-Islanders today (Friday 5 June) at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, Japan (17-14).
Samoa took the early lead from a lineout just inside the Scotland half when scrum-half Auvasa Falealii collected and chipped ahead before gathering the ball and offloading to supporting flanker Falemiga Selesele for the score.
Centre Rayhan Laulala added the extras.
Despite going down early Scotland maintained their composure, focussed on earning possession and territory, and forced infringements out of the Samoans.
Full-back Peter Horne kicked two of his three in-range penalties late in the half to put Scotland in a point adrift at the break.
Half time: 7-6
A good start to the second-half saw Scotland take and extend their lead in a positive five- minute passage of play.
First Horne added to his penalty tally before wing, Alex Dunbar, marked his under-20 debut with a fine try.
Grant Anderson started the move when he came off his wing to break through the midfield before he offloaded out of the tackle to supporting lock Richie Gray who charged into a barrier of Samoans, taking several with him.
The big blonde squeezed the ball out of contact to the supporting Dunbar who slid in for the unconverted score (7-14).
The lead however was short lived when Samoa equalised from a close range set-piece move from a scrum on Scotland’s 5m line.
The ball was spun to the versatile Winton Wilson who ran a well-timed switch to wing Lemisio Faimoa who came through the gap at close range to score at the upright.
Laulala’s conversion meant that the scores were tied 14-14.
With 20 minutes left on the clock the exhausting pace of the game was evidently taking its toll on both sets of players however the Samoans began to exert increasing pressure on the Scots’ defence.
After making their way into Scottish territory once more Wilson slotted the crushing drop goal in the 42nd minute.
Full time: 17-14
Scotland under-20 coach, Rob Moffat, said: “We didn’t start well and their early score knocked us back a bit.
“After that I thought we came back into the game well getting to 14-7 up but we couldn’t get the extra score that we needed.
“It was a tough finish to a game. To lose a drop goal with the last kick is pretty tough but the boys are here to learn and here to develop, even if we’d have won we would still have the same things to work on against England.”
Scotland under-20 are next in action against England in the second of three Pool B IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship matches.
Scotland team to play Samoa on Friday 5 June in Tokyo (kick-off 5pm local)
Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Anderson (Ayr) *, Ashleah McCulloch (Aberdeen Grammar) **, Robbie Johnston (Leeds University and Leeds Carnegie), Alex Dunbar (Selkirk) **, Andrew White (Glasgow Hawks) **, Henry Pyrgos (Wimbourne), Gavin Cameron (Stirling County) **, Fraser Brown CAPTAIN (Watsonians) *, David Morton (Bridgwater and Albion), Nick Campbell (Glasgow Hawks) **, Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Struan Dewar (Heriot’s) **, Stuart McInally (Watsonians) *, Chris Fusaro (Heriot’s) *
Finlay Gillies (Heriot’s) ** on Brown, Douglas Orr (Haddington) ** on for Morton, Robert Harley (West of Scotland) ** on for Dewar, Ryan Wilson (London Scottish), Robbie McGowan (Stirling County) on for White, Tom Brown (Edinburgh Accies) * on for Anderson, Peter Jericevich (Glasgow Hawks) *
* Denotes a member of the Scottish National Contracted Academy
** Denotes a member of the Scottish Rugby National Academy supported by the Scottish Institute of Sport
Referee: Andrew Small (RFU)
Pool B, Tokyo, Prince Chichibu Memorial (as it stands)
|W D L Points |
1 0 0 5
1 0 0 4
0 0 1 1
0 0 1 0
Scotland under-20 match schedule
Friday 5 June: Samoa 17-14 Scotland, Tokyo (kick-off 9am)
Tuesday 9 June: England v Scotland, Tokyo (kick-off 9am)
Saturday 13 June: Japan v Scotland, Tokyo (kick-off 7.05am)
You can watch 10 key matches from the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship 2009 group stages live and on-demand for free via the official tournament website at www.irb.com/jwc.
The action then switches to the knockout rounds with live coverage of the semi-finals between the top team in each pool. On the final day, you can watch live coverage of the third place play-off (or Japan’s final match) and then the Championship Final.
Tuesday 9 June
Argentina v Uruguay (kick-off 9am BST)
Ireland v New Zealand (kick-off 11am BST)
Saturday 13 June
Fiji v Italy (kick-off 5am BST)
France v South Africa (kick-off 8am BST)
Wednesday 17 June
Semi final 1 (kick-off 9am BST)
Semi final 2 (11am kick-off BST)
Sunday 21 June
Third place play-off/Japan match (kick-off 5am BST)
Championship Final (kick-off 8am BST)