Scotland eliminated despite brave fightback

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Scotland's World Cup dream came to a dour end as Samoa overcame a second-half fightback to book an unenviable quarter-final tie against the all-conquering Australians.

Scotland's World Cup dream came to a dour end as Samoa overcame a second-half fightback to book an unenviable quarter-final tie against the all-conquering Australians.

More than 35,000 turned out half a mile away at Murrayfield Stadium to watch Scotland's rugby union side put 50 points past the United States in a friendly tie the previous night but just 1,579 die-hards left their bonfires early to lend support to their league counterparts, emphasising the mountain of work ahead for the game's development arm north of the border.

Scotland needed to win by a two-point margin to secure a quarter-final berth and held that advantage for nearly 20 minutes after Matt Crowther landed a second-minute penalty.

But Samoa, full of confidence after their dramatic win over New Zealand Maori in mid-week, looked ominously strong and eventually wrestled their way in front as Bryan Leauma capitalised on a dropped ball from Matt Daylight to take Anthony Swann's inside pass and touch down in the corner.

David Solomona then opened up an eight-point gap, swatting away three would-be tacklers before planting the ball over the line and Laloa Milford capped an eye-catching individual performance by scooping up another Daylight spill to race 90 metres down the right flank for one of the tries of the tournament.

With their World Cup survival on the line, Scotland came out firing for the second half and put in a far more purposeful display. Five minutes after the break Castleford's 1999 Man of Steel Adrian Vowles gritted his teeth and forced his way over out wide on the left wing and when the substitute Scott Rhodes scythed his way through the Samoan line to cut the gap to two points the scene was set for a glorious finale.

But, after Shane Laloata stretched the Samoan lead to 16-12 with a penalty for off side, Scotland full-back Danny Arnold gifted Leauma his second score of the night.

The Huddersfield star, desperate to save a possible "40-20" kick, flung the ball from the touchline back into the field of play and straight onto the boot of Leauma, who touched down to clinch the win.

The Samoa coach, Darrell Williams, admitted his side would need to pull out something special to shock Australia. "We will need a lot of spirit and a lot of other things as well," he said.

SCOTLAND: Arnold (Huddersfield), Daylight (Hull), Gilmur (Bradford), Bell (North Queensland), Crowther (Hull), Purcell (Castleford), Horne (Hull), Heckenberg (St George), Russell (Huddersfield), Laughton (Huddersfield), Logan (Sydney Roosters), Cram (London), Vowles (Castleford). Substitutes: Rhodes (Featherstone), Maiden (Hull), McDonald (St Helens), Shaw (Castleford).

SAMOA: Milford (Wests TIgers), Lima, Swann (Canberra), Laloata (Nelson Bay), Leauma (Penrith), Fa'afili (Auckland), Taulapeau (Sydney Roosters), Puletua (Penrith), Bethan (Auckland), Seuseu (Auckland), Solomona (Sydney City), Tatupu (Wakefield), Poching (Wakefield). Substitutes: Swann (Hunslet), Leuluai, Leafa (Canterbury), Fala (Northcote).

Referee: D Pakieto (New Zealand).

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