USA V Scotland
Scotland recorded their first ever loss to the USA, by a single point, in an eventful match in Houston (29-30).
With Scotland six points behind on 80 minutes, but with possession in the USA 22, the visitors eventually engineered a try with a long pass from stand-off Adam Hastings, which winger Dougie Fife finished.
Full-back Blair Kinghorn faced a match-winning conversion from out wide, but his kick drifted past the far post to see the USA win by the smallest of margins.
Scotland got off to the best possible start with slick play among the backs giving captain and full-back Stuart Hogg space in an outside channel to make ground and put Kinghorn in at the corner. The Edinburgh player converted his own try (0-7).
The sticky heat generated handling errors from both sides but it was Scotland’s fly-half Adam Hastings who controlled the territory and kept the USA pack moving around the park early on.
The host’s best attacks in the opening 40 minutes came from deep, with stand-off AJ MacGinty breaking out of defence on two occasions to set up counter attacks before sending two penalties through the sticks to keep his side in contention.
Scotland’s second try was a Horne family affair.
A great spin through the USA defence inside their 22 allowed Horne senior to create space to put in brother George.
A high tackle in covering defence by number 8 Samu Manoa saw referee Wayne Barnes send the back-row to the sin-bin and award the visitors a penalty try (6-14).
Scotland extended their lead just before half-time when hooker George Turner grabbed his fourth try of the tour after an excellent Hogg penalty kick had positioned Scotland right on the USA 5m line. From the resulting lineout maul Turner dotted down from short range for his fourth of the tour (6-21).
The USA forwards hit back just before the break to score under the posts through hooker Joe Taufete’e, which MacGinty converted.
A Kinghorn penalty then made the half-time score (13-24).
Half-time: USA 13-24 Scotland
After the break the USA scored within three minutes, again through hooker Taufete’e from close range. MacGinty again added the extras, before slotting another penalty to make it a one-point game (23-24)
Scotland managed to hold the score line for the next 12 minutes amidst intense USA pressure but couldn’t generate sufficient territory or possession in the right areas of the field to create scoring chances.
The USA took the lead for the first time on the hour after a series of kick-returns from either side put Matt Fagerson under pressure in his own 22, and from a spilt ball the USA chase tidied up and put flanker Hanco Germishuys in for the try (30-24).
Scotland had emptied its bench by then but USA could sense a famous victory and fought hard to keep their lead.
The late Fife try gave Scotland a chance to snatch the win, but as Kinghorn’s conversion flew wide the night belonged to the Eagles (30-29).
Full Time: USA (13) 30-29 (24) Scotland
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg; 14 Blair Kinghorn, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Byron McGuigan; 10 Adam Hastings, 9 George Horne; 1 Jamie Bhatti, 2 George Turner, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Lewis Carmichael, 5 Ben Toolis, 6 Tim Swinson, 7 Luke Hamilton, 8 Matt Fagerson. Substitutes: 16 FraserBrown on for Hamilton (50’), 17 Allan Dell on for Bhatti (57’), 18 Murray McCallum on for Fagerson (57’), 19 Grant Gilchrist on for Carmichael (52’), 20 David Denton on for Fagerson (63’), 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne on for Horne (63’), 22 Mark Bennett on for Grigg (57’), 23 Dougie Fife on for McGuigan (71’).
US Eagles: 15 Will Hooley; 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Bryce Campbell, 12 Paul Lasike, 11; Marcel Brache; 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Shaun Davies; 1 Eric Fry, 2 Joe Taufete’e, 3 Paul Mullen, 4 Samu Manoa, 5 Nick Civetta, 6 John Quil, 7 Hanco Germishuys, 8 Cam Dolan. Substitutes: 16 Dylan Fawsitt, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Chris Baumann, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Ben Landry, 21 Nate Augspurger, 22 Will Magie, 23 Dylan Audsley.