Chile v Scotland A
Scotland A opened the national team’s South American tour with a seven tries to one victory over Chile in the shadow of the Andes tonight.
Tries from Damien Hoyland (3), George Horne (2), Rufus McLean and Ali Price saw the visitors emerge victorious, but it will be a challenge of altogether more mountainous proportions when it’s Test match duty against Argentina over the next three weekends.
Scotland A did grab their fifth try on 44 minutes but the manner in which Chilean grunt dominated much of a scrappy second-half, where Scotland A failed to imprint their shape on the game, will be something that will exercise Gregor Townsend and his coaches over the next few days.
Scotland began their South American tour – which continues next month with three Test matches in Argentina – in a comfortable 14 degrees Celsius at the 19, 000 capacity Estadio Santa Laura Universidad SEK in Santiago tonight.
It was the first time Scotland’s A team had been in action since a 16-all draw with England Saxons at Scotstoun eight years ago and though Scotland have met Chile at under-19 level it was the first occasion we had faced their full international side, who are still in the qualification mix for next year’s Rugby World Cup finals in France with a vital game looming against the USA next month
Chile, currently ranked 23rd in the world, kicked-off and Scott Cummings, after an injury-disrupted season, pouched. Cummings was also the target at the game’s first lineout, but the ball was spilled forward by George Horne thereafter.
Horne made little impression with two early box kicks but then ran a typically selfless support line to take Scotland A into the home 22, in the wake of his stand-off partner Ross Thompson’s break.
Approaching ten minutes, Scotland A went through the phases off scrum ball into the hosts’ 22, but Sione Tuipulotu’s option to kick enabled Chile to clear.
Off the subsequent lineout, captured by Jamie Hodgson, Tuipulotu released Thompson on the wrap around, Ollie Smith intruded from full-back and Damien Hoyland blazed in at the corner for the tourists’ first try. Thompson struck a super conversion (0-7, 12 mins).
A high tackle penalty – called by the TMO – saw Thompson nudge the Scots deep into Chilean territory anew, but Matt Fagerson was overly ambitious with his attempted feed to Rufus McLean.
Still, a second Scotland A try was not long delayed. Tuipulotu dented on the right and with Ben Muncaster and Thompson linking, captain Luke Crosbie was triggered in midfield. He stormed past the Chilean tight-head prop Vittorio Lastra and released to the admirable Horne who scuttled in under the posts for Thompson to goal (0-14, 16 mins).
Horne clearly enjoys the South American air having scored a try brace against Argentina in Resistencia in 2018.
It took him a further six minutes to do so in the Chilean capital, selling a sumptuous dummy from a close-range ruck after Matt Currie had thundered on off the back of Dave Cherry’s driving maul surge. Thompson goaled (0-21, 22 mins).
A “try” from McLean – where he followed up his own kick-ahead – was subject to TMO scrutiny and was ruled out for a Horne knock-on.
At the reset scrum in the immediate aftermath, Chile were penalised for collapsing and Thompson fired the visitors to the touchline. Cummings caught; Cherry led the first salvooff the maul, but Muncaster was held up.
With half-time on the horizon, Jamie Bhatti was next to be held up over the goal-line, Alfonso Escobar making the saving tackle.
Still there was sufficient time for Bhatti - part of an impressive scrummage effort from the Scots’ pack – to beinvolved again in midfield open play after Currie’s blistering run on the right. From the ruck, Horne fed Hoyland on a cracking line for the winger to notch his brace. Thompson was on target once more. (0-28, 40 mins).
Half time: Chile 0 Scotland A 28.
Scotland A resumed on the attack and though they coughed up breakdown possession within five metres of the hosts’ line, McLean’s gung-ho counter on the left saw ball ultimately transferred swiftly right, for Cummings to give the most audacious one-handed offload to Hoyland.
The Edinburgh winger used guile to evade Inaki Ayarza but then maintained his composure in the tackle from Alfonso Escobar to complete his try hat-trick. Thompson missed the conversion (0-33, 44 mins).
The game went through an untidy period for the remainder of the third quarter, as both coaches took the opportunity to go to their bench.
McLean and substitute Magnus Bradbury both launched promising attacks, but a knock-on and soft penalty thwarted any notion of Scottish continuity.
Further cavalry was introduced from the Scotland A bench,but Chile continued to dominate possession with sub hooker Diego Escobar all but barrelling over.
Ali Price had to look lively to deny one rampaging Chilean,but the hosts got the try their second half thoroughly deserved as Santiago Edwards bulldozed in from the ruck. The conversion went astray (5-33).
Scotland A did end the contest with two tries as McLean, detonated by Kinghorn’s long pass, got the first (5-38, 78 mins) and then Mark Bennett romped free on an exchange of passes with Price, for the scrum-half to dot down. Kinghorn, having missed the conversion of McLean’s try, had radar restored for Price’s score. (5-45, 80 mins).
Full-time: Chile 5 Scotland A 45.
Chile: Francisco Urroz; Nicolas Garafulic, Pablo Casas, Inaki Ayarza, Matias Garafulic; Rodrigo Fernandez CAPTAIN, Marcelo Torrealba; Javier Carrasco, Thomas Dussaillant, Vittorio Lastra, Santiago Pedro, Clemente Saavedra, Santiago Edwards, Ignatius Silva, Alfonso Escobar.
Subs: Diego Escobar for Dussaillant (25 mins), Salvador Luesfor Carrasco (40 mins) Inaki Gurruchaga for Lastra (58 mins), Thomas Orchard for Saavedra (13 mins), Raimundo Martinezfor Silva (40 mins) , Jose Larenas for Torrealba (47 mins),Santiago Videla for Alfonso Escobar (47 mins), Nicolas Herreros for Garafulic (56 mins)
Scotland A: Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors); Damien Hoyland, Matt Currie (both Edinburgh Rugby), Sione Tuipulotu, Rufus McLean; Ross Thompson, George Horne; Jamie Bhatti (all Glasgow Warriors), Dave Cherry (Edinburgh Rugby), Javan Sebastian (Scarlets), Jamie Hodgson (Edinburgh Rugby), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), Ben Muncaster, Luke Crosbie CAPTAIN (both Edinburgh Rugby), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors).
Subs: Jonny Matthews (Glasgow Warriors) for Cherry (51 mins), Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby) for Bhatti (69 mins), Murphy Walker (Glasgow Warriors) for Sebastian (57 mins) , Glen Young (Edinburgh Rugby) for Cummings (51 mins), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby) for Fagerson (51 mins), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) for Horne (69 mins), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) for Thompson (69 mins), Mark Bennett (Edinburgh Rugby) for Currie (69 mins) .
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales). Assistant Referees: Francisco Gonzalez (Uruguay) and Talal Chaudhry (Canada). TMO: Lucas Galan (Argentina).