Harley strikes late to ensure Scotland remain unbeaten

Samoa 16 Scotland 17

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The Independent Online

Debutant loose forward Rob Harley scored a try in stoppage time as Scotland snatched victory over Pacific Nations Cup champions Samoa in Apia yesterday.

The 22-year-old was put clear from replacement scrum-half Mike Blair's pass and fly-half Greig Laidlaw slotted the conversion to give the visitors the narrow victory, ensuring the Scots return home from their three-match southern hemisphere tour unbeaten.

Andy Robinson's team also upset Australia 9-8 in Newcastle on June 5, then held off a furious late challenge by Fiji in Lautoka last week to win 37-25, with debutant winger Tim Visser scoring two tries.

Scotland, who failed to make it out of their pool at last year's rugby World Cup, had never lost to Samoa in seven previous tests, though they needed a last-minute penalty in Aberdeen two years ago to take a 19-16 victory and drew 15-15 at Murrayfield in 1995. Samoa fly-half Tusi Pisi scored all of his side's points with a drop goal, two penalties and converted his own try, with Laidlaw adding a penalty and also converting Joe Ansbro's first-half try.

Robinson admitted his side had been lucky. "For a lot of that game, they looked the better side," he said. "Defensively we were very good in the first half but we dropped off one tackle and that led to a score. Sometimes you have got to find something and I think that when Mike Blair charged down a kick just before the try, that showed the energy that there was among the team, they weren't prepared to give up."

Samoa: F Autagavaia; P Perez, F Otto (L Lui, 35), P Williams, D Lemi; T Pisi, K Fotuali'i (J Sua 79); Z Taulafo, T Paulo (O Avei 64), C Johnstone, F Lemalu, D Crichton (LMulipola, 40), B Masou, M Fa'asavalu, K Thompson.

Scotland: S Hogg; S Lamont, J Ansbro (M Evans, 65), M Scott, T Visser; G Laidlaw, C Cusiter (M Blair, 50); R Grant, R Ford (capt; S Lawson, 63), E Murray, R Gray, A Kellock (T Ryder, 73), A Strokosch, R Rennie, R Vernon, (R Harley, 65).