Stand-in Jackson crowned 'king of Aberdeen'

Scotland 19 Samoa 16
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The Independent Online

So there was a place in the record books, then, for Dan, the man in the No 10 shirt. Fifty three minutes into this tight contest in Arctic Aberdeen on Saturday, Dan Parks swung his right boot and sailed past John Rutherford, that most revered Caledonian fly half, as the most prolific exponent of the drop goal for Scotland.

The 13th in a 55-cap rollercoaster international career by the 32-year-old outside-half nosed Scotland in front but they were swiftly pegged to 16-16, thanks to a penalty by Paul Williams. With his squad's autumn finale in the balance, Andy Robinson could have been excused for keeping the rookie Ruaridh Jackson on the bench and his proven scoreboard-ticking pivot on the pitch for the final quarter.

The big picture for Robinson, though, is the World Cup in New Zealand next autumn and, like Graham Henry, the head coach of the hosts and long-range favourites, he needs a battle-hardened stand-in for his first-choice stand-off, if not an alternative. It will take more than the 21 minutes that Jackson played on Saturday – his second stint off the bench, after a 13-minute introduction against the All Blacks – to prove his international mettle. Still, there were encouraging signs from the 22-year-old.

Not least of them was the nerveless last-minute penalty kick with which Jackson, a local lad and lifelong Aberdeen football fan, won the match on the field of his boyhood dreams; "He's the king of Aberdeen tonight," Rory Lawson, Scotland's captain, trumpeted. What would have given Robinson equal pleasure was the thumping hit with which the 13st lightweight stopped the 18st George Stowers. It kept the visitors under pressure on their own 22m line and suggested that the young man from the Granite City has substance as well as skill.

Then there was the half-break from inside the Scotland half with which Jackson set in motion the attack which ultimately yielded his match-winning opportunity.

Scotland: Try: Walker; Conversion: Parks; Penalties: Parks 2, Jackson; Drop goal: Parks. Samoa: Try Fotuali'i; Conversion: Williams; Penalties: Williams 3.

Scotland: H Southwell; N Walker, J Ansbro (M Evans, 59), G Morrison, S Lamont; D Parks (R Jackson, 59), R Lawson (Capt, M Blair, 56); A Jacobsen, R Ford (D Hall, 74), E Murray (M low, 59), N Hines, R Gray (J Hamilton, 59), K Brown, J Barclay, R Vernon (R Rennie, 74).

Samoa: P Williams; D Lemi, G Pisi, S Mapusua, A Tuilagi; T Lavea , K Fotuali'i; S Taulafo, M Schwalger (Capt, T Paulo, 61), C Johnston (A Perenise, 61), F Levi, K Thompson (I Tekori, 61), O Trevarinus (A Aiono, 66), M Salavea (D Leo, 75), G Stowers.

Referee: S Walsh (Australian RFU).