What's hot and what's not from Scotland's narrow win over Samoa
Greig Laidlaw scored 26 points, including a decisive second-half try, as Scotland booked their place in the last eight with a narrow win over Samoa. It was an extraordinary game of drama and tension, as Samoa came flying out of the blocks and played better than they have previously in this World Cup, even picking up a four-try bonus point as they found numerous holes in the Scottish defence. The Scots have plenty to work on ahead of their quarter-final at Twickenham and will be relieved to come away with the win from an extremely physical contest.
Helter-skelter rugby – With 49 points scored in the first half alone this was end-to-end stuff. It didn’t all make good viewing for Scotland, but it was great to see Samoa show their true selves after a poor tournament overall. They were fast, accurate and effective in their tactics to score three first-half tries, catching Scotland off-guard in defence. The Scots closed those gaps better in the second half but there was still plenty of tension, even if there were far fewer points.
Scottish crowd – Playing this fixture at St James’ Park was an inspired decision by the RWC 2015 organisers as so many Scotland fans made the short trip across the border for this decisive Pool B game. They were plenty of bitten fingernails during the 80 minutes but they will have celebrated booking their place in the last eight.
Rey Lee-Lo – Cardiff Blues fans will have enjoyed the Samoa centre’s performance in this match. He allies brute force with decent footwork in midfield and regularly broke the gain-line – he made the most clean breaks with five and metres with 120. This is just what the Welsh region will want their new signing to do in the Guinness Pro12.
Tommy Seymour – While all around him were losing their heads, the Scotland wing kept things together. He pounced on a loose Samoa pass early on to score a try, made his tackles and intercepted a couple of key passes.
Scottish composure – Their kick receipt and defence was all over the shop in the first half, allowing Samoa to build momentum and score tries. They got dragged into an open game and couldn’t cope with the pace and power of Samoa. They may have tightened things up in the second half but they should have been calmer from the off – and will need to be in the quarter-final. The match starts in the first minute, not the 40th.
The pitch – There weren’t as many scrums as the previous night’s game between New Zealand and Tonga, but the pitch was still tearing up a fair bit. A lot of work for the St James’ Park groundsmen ahead of next weekend’s football game between Newcastle and Norwich.
Penalty count – There were 31 penalties in all, 12 conceded by Scotland and 19 by Samoa. Figures that would concern both coaches.
28 – The number of tackles missed by Scotland.
69 – The number of points scored in this game, more than any other RWC 2015 match to date.
473 – The number of metres made by Samoa compared to 250 by Scotland.
Scotland: S Hogg (S Lamont 70); S Maitland, M Bennett, M Scott (P Horne 76), T Seymour; F Russell, G Laidlaw (capt); A Dickinson (G Reid 23-28), R Ford (F Brown 65), WP Nel, R Gray, J Gray (T Swinson 62), R Wilson (J Strauss 53), J Hardie, D Denton.
Tries (3): Seymour, Hardie, Laidlaw. Cons: Laidlaw 3. Pens: Laidlaw 5.
Yellow card: Ryan Wilson (28).
Samoa: T Nanai-Williams; P Perez, G Pisi, R Lee-Lo, F Autagavaia (K Pisi 71); T Pisi (P Faapale 71), K Fotuali’i (capt, V Afemai 79); S Taulafo (V Afatia 59), M Leiataua (M Matu’u 73), C Johnston (A Perenise 59), T Paulo, K Thompson (F Levave 29), M Faasavalu, J Lam, A Faosiliva (V Tuilagi 59).
Tries (4): T Pisi, Leiataua, Lee-Lo, M Matu’u. Cons: T Pisi, Faapale. Pens: T Pisi 3.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa).
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