Rugby Union: Logan's five the high spot

Scotland 85 Spain 3 Tries: Logan 5, J Leslie Pen: Kovalenko M Leslie, Longstaff, Smith C Murray, Redpath, Weir Townsend Cons: Hodge 10 Half-time: 40-3 Attendance 6,524
Click to follow
The Independent Online
MUCH MORE of this and the ticket tout will become an endangered species at Murrayfield. Even the rosette and scarf vendors had given up yesterday as the crowds in Edinburgh headed for the Prince's Street stores rather than the World Cup qualifier.

That both teams had already qualified and will renew hostilities in the same pool next October rendered another mismatch even more meaningless than Scotland's 85-11 thrashing of Portugal last week.

Spain had fielded their strongest team to beat Portugal 21-17 on Wednesday, and with eight changes they were never likely to offer any kind of challenge. The few thousand hardy souls who braved the freezing temperatures were clearly happy to see Kenny Logan, the Wasps winger, back on home soil and the second of his five tries brought the biggest cheer as he rounded the full-back to race in from halfway.

Sheer strength took him over for his fourth, while the fifth, six minutes from time, resulted from Spain's attempts to run the ball from their own line and Duncan Hodge's 10th conversion left Scotland needing nine points to match their record score.

For the second successive week, however, all the hectic recycling of possession had taken its toll and it was three minutes into injury time when they broke out from under their own posts for Logan's replacement, Shaun Longstaff, to score.

Spain did at least look more robust than their Iberian neighbours, with the lock Steve Tuineau and flanker Oscar Astarloa putting in some big hits, while there were early signs that the Ukrainian stand-off, Andrei Kovalenko, had a useful boot.

Scotland scored two converted tries in the first 10 minutes, however, and thereafter it required the pace and bustle of Jamie Mayer to inject any urgency into the proceedings.

Gregor Townsend also lived up to his attacking reputation, once running the ball out from behind his own line after Kovalenko failed to add to his 12th-minute penalty.

There were several careless handling errors as Scotland sauntered into a 40-3 half-time lead and judgement will have to be reserved on the value of their New Zealand connection with Townsend's worth as a fullback. In a match for which Scotland again did not award caps, John and Martin Leslie were joined by a third Kiwi, the Auckland-born flanker Cameron Mather, making his international debut. At 6ft 6in, he offered a useful option at the line-out but whether he is a better all-round player than Rob Wainwright remains to be seen.

Three of Scotland's 13 tries stemmed from line-out possession after penalties were kicked to the corner - a rather dull tactic in circumstances which called for something more adventurous.

Still, 85 points in successive weeks will not have harmed their confidence, despite the sobering thought that when they return for their World Cup opener at Murrayfield next October the opposition will be the holders, South Africa.

Scotland: G Townsend (Brive); C Murray (Edinburgh Reivers), J Mayer (Edinburgh Reivers), J Leslie (Glasgow Caledonians), K Logan (Wasps); D Hodge (Edinburgh Reivers), B Redpath (Edinburgh Reivers, capt); T Smith (Glasgow Caledonians), G Bullock (Glasgow Caledonians), W Anderson (Glasgow Caledonians); S Murray (Bedford), D Weir (Newcastle), C Mather (Edinburgh Reivers), M Leslie (Edinburgh Reivers), E Peters (Bath). Replacements: S Grimes (Glasgow Caledonians) for S Murray, 66; A Tait (Edinburgh Reivers) for Maer, 70; S Longstaff (Glasgow Caledonians) for Logan, 80.

Spain: M A Frechilla; Alberto Socias, A Enciso, F Diez, D Garcia; A Kovalenko, A Gallastegui; J Camps, F de la Calle, A Altuna; S Tuineau, L J Martinez, A Malo (capt), A Mata, O Astarloa. Replacements: R Bastide for Diez, 41; V Torres for Camps, 54; J Torres-Morote for Gallastegui, 54; C Souto for Malo, 54; A Socias for Garcia, 63; O Ripol for Enciso, 68; D Zarzosa for Martinez, 80.

Referee: S Young (Australia).

Comments