463. From The Couch: Match #34

Samoa 33 – 36 Scotland


Sometimes pride leads you into a valley of deceit and despair.

And sometimes it leads you to the mountaintops.

For Samoa, which has had a disappointing tournament, this was their chance to show what they really wanted to be. Their first half, scoring three tries with brilliant speed and skill and precision, was breath-taking, and they lead 26-23 at the oranges.

For Scotland, pride almost led them astray. Even into the second half they kicked kickable penalties into the corner for lineouts. As if the lineout drive for a try was theirs to command at will.

The second half, played at the same frenetic pace, yielded far fewer points. Scotland dominated territory and possession, but were forced finally to kick the points. Humility is the necessary companion of pride.

It was not until the 73rd minute that Greig Laidlaw capped a very fine performance to scoot away from a scrum for the try that put it beyond reach.

Just. Because Samoa came back with a converted try in the 77th minute, within striking range. They could just not quite carry it back to steal a win at the end.

Ah, but what a game. What a game.

A word for the ref: Jaco Peyper was the still centre of the hurricane. He is, I think, the ref of the tournament so far: accurate, calm, pleasant, and always well-positioned. A great contribution to a wonderful match.

About Ned Davy

By hokey, the big fella’s tipped into his 50s. A rangy loose forward in his prime, good with the ball in hand, but rarely up with the play any more.
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