Scotland edged out by New Zealand in 13 try thriller
Scotland were edged out eight scores to five in a 13 try thriller as New Zealand eventually powered their way to victory in what was, from start to finish, an enthralling contest at Rosario’s Racecourse Stadium.
Despite trailing 26-0 with just 26 minutes on the clock, Carl Hogg’s brave outfit came roaring back in to the contest and scored 19 unanswered points to make it seven-point game in the early stages of the second-half (26-19).
That would spur New Zealand back in to action, however, and with their foot once again on the gas the Baby Blacks scored three quick fire tries in a ten-minute blitz to stretch out their lead further (45-19).
Scotland would not go down a fight, however, and with further scores from replacement hooker Ewan Ashman and winger Jack Blain – with the latter an excellently worked cross field kick try – the age-grade side would earn a richly deserved losing bonus-point.
Speaking following the match, Scotland U20 captain Nathan Chamberlain – who had an excellent match in the number 10 jersey - said: “We’re very proud of that performance.
“I’m chuffed for the boys that we got that losing bonus-point, because the work ethic was unbelievable and we were pretty unlucky with regards to the score line. I can’t fault the boys’ drive tonight – we’ll take a lot of confidence out of that game.
“The replacements helped out a lot tonight. I thought they came on and did an excellent job. Fresh legs are so important in this tournament and they did their job in driving us on.
“We learned a lot from the South Africa loss and I still think we did ourselves proud tonight. We’ve got a lot to work on heading into that Georgia match next week but we’ll definitely take confidence.”
Scotland rested 12 of the starting XV that faced South Africa in Tuesday’s Championship opener and that showed in the opening stages as the Kiwis took advantage of the age grade side’s defensive rust.
Scores from prop Kaliopasi Uluilakepa and fullback Scott Gregory gave New Zealand a 14-0 lead with less than 15 minutes on the clock.
That would lead would then be extended further with winger Lalomilo Lalomilo and centre Quinn Tupaea both getting in on the action. The score line read 26-0 and Scotland appeared to be in deep trouble.
A moment of magic would give the age-grade side hope, however. With the Kiwi defence drifting, centre Robbie McCallum danced his way through a gap before sending a trio of defenders the wrong way with an outrageous dummy. As the centre raced over, Scotland were on the board and hungry for more. (26-5)
With their tails up and in possession of the ball inside the New Zealand 22m, captain Chamberlain showcased nimble footwork before offloading to fullback Ollie Smith.
With the Ayr man hitting a ferocious line to propel himself over the whitewash and Chamberlain adding the extras, the age grade side were right back in it at the interval. (26-12)
Despite falling behind early doors, Scotland had looked dangerous when attacking space and very soon that threat became real as Smith grabbed his second of the evening.
Following a solid scrum on the Kiwi 22m, the ball was worked wide to the fullback who’s sumptuous, but potent, inside line caught had the New Zealand backline in a spin cycle. As Smith cantered under the sticks, Scotland had closed the gap even further. (26-19)
That scare shocked the Kiwis back into action however, and in a ten-minute, three try blitz, they showcased why they are one of world rugby’s best sides at any level.
Winger Lalomilo – who grabbed his second of the match- and replacement front-row duo Tamaiti Williams and Oliver Norris all got on the score sheet to put the match well out of sight (45-19).
Scotland would rally however and two late scores would secure a losing bonus-point that could well be significant heading into next week’s crucial match against Georgia.
Replacement hooker Ashman rumbled over to get his first score for his country, before Blain finished what was, perhaps, the pick of the 13 tries eventually scored on the evening.
After working the ball inside the Kiwi 22m, the winger got on the end of a perfectly executed cross-field kick from replacement stand-off Ross Thompson. It was a thing of beauty and a try that perfectly encapsulated the age-grade’s willingness to attack.
Next up: Scotland U20 face Georgia U20 in their final pool stage fixture on Wednesday 12 June (kick-off 2.30pm BST) at Racecourse Stadium, Rosario – streamed live at world.rugby/u20