If Scotland were expecting that it would take little more than a skirl of the pipes to inspire them to an easy victory over Samoa they were much mistaken.
The pre-match music played by the Coldstream Pipe Band was infinitely more entertaining and convincing than anything provided by Scotland yesterday. If the Scots are to inconvenience New Zealand on Saturday they will have to call on the support of every Highland regiment.
Scotland's coach, Frank Hadden, however, refused to accept their performance was on the crutch-needing side of lame. "We were delighted to win, in what was a very tight game," he said. "Samoa are a very physical side and, when they scored early on, we knew we were in for a long afternoon. We need to look at our control at the breakdown, and this was ideal preparation for the All Blacks - and I think we can beat them."
Hadden's prognosis appears on the day-dreaming side of improbable, unless Scotland can summon more imagination, finish the few chances they can conjure and compete in the key physical areas, where they were found wanting against Samoa, who had the two stand-out players in Alesana Tuilagi and Garrick Cowley.
The Scots had a quite dreadful first half - which they almost repeated in the second period - and were behind after 11 minutes when they allowed Daniel Farani, the Samoa No 8, to escape. Scotland were penalised and, from the resulting line-out, Cowley lofted a hopeful little chip towards the posts. Chris Cusiter looked to have it covered, only for Alesana Tuilagi to snatch the ball from his grasp for an opportunist try.
This should have been only a temporary setback, for they had monopolised both territory and possession for most of the opening quarter, though most of it was squandered until Ally Hogg was driven across from a line-out. Chris Paterson failed with the conversion but added a penalty after Warren had done likewise for Samoa, to send the sides in at 8-8.
It was not until the 73rd minute that Scotland put the result beyond Samoa's reach, when Marcus Di Rollo crossed in the left corner which Paterson then converted.
Scotland: Tries Hogg, Di Rollo Conversion Paterson Penalties Paterson 2 Samoa: Tries Alesana Tuilagi Penalties Warren 2.
Scotland: C Paterson (Edinburgh); R Lamont (Glasgow), M Di Rollo (Edinburgh), A Henderson (Glasgow), S Lamont (Northampton); D Parks (Glasgow), C Cusiter (Borders); A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), S Lawson (Glasgow) C Smith (Edinburgh), C Hamilton (Glasgow), S Murray (Edinburgh), J White (Sale, capt), A Hogg, S Taylor (Both Edinburgh). Replacements: D Hall (Edinburgh) for Lawson 64; G Kerr (Leeds) for Smith 46; A Kellock (Edinburgh) for Hamilton h-t; K Brown (Borders) for White 70; M Blair (Edinburgh) for Cusiter 61; P Godman (Edinburgh) for Parks 61; H Southwell (Edinburgh) for R Lamont 46.
Samoa: R Warren (Cardiff); L Faatau (Wellington), A Tuilagi (Leicester), E Fuimaono-Sapolu (Auckland Univ), A Tuilagi (Leicester); T Vili (Kintetsu), G Cowley (Bay of Plenty); J Va'a, M Schwalger (Both Wellington) C Johnston (Taranaki), D Leo (Queensland), J Faamatuainu (Auckland), S Sititi (Borders, capt), I Taina (Apia). D Farani (Wellington). Replacements: L Tafunai (Apia) for Warren 76; K Lealamanua (Biarritz) for Va'a 55; P Tupai (Rangarui) for Faamatuainu h-t; N Tauafao (Maile Sharks) for Cowley 64; A Collins (Wellington) for Anitelea Tuilagi 65; S Tagicakibua (Waikato) for Faatau 65.
Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).Reuse content