Cometh the hour; cometh the young man. Approaching the hour in Arctic Aberdeen, Scotland and Samoa were locked together at 16-16 and Andy Robinson took off Dan Parks, his match-winner of a fly-half, to replace him with Ruaridh Jackson.
It was a bold shuffle of the deck by Scotland's head coach. Six minutes earlier Parks had nailed his 13th drop-goal for his adopted country, taking the Scottish record from the revered John Rutherford. The previous Saturday, the Australian-born No 10 had accounted for all of Scotland's points in a 21-17 victory over South Africa at Murrayfield. Jackson's international experience was limited to a 13-minute walk-on in a 49-3 hammering inflicted by the All Blacks a fortnight ago. Still, the 22-year-old came up trumps.
With the clock ticking down, Jackson launched an attack from deep that furnished a match-winning opportunity. When Iosefa Tekori, a second-row replacement for Samoa, was penalised for collapsing a maul, the replacement fly-half stepped up to the mark. From the 22-metre line, 15m in from the right touchline, the Aberdeen boy landed the decisive blow with the final kick of the game.
"He split the uprights; he's the king of Aberdeen," Rory Lawson, Scotland's scrum-half and captain, said. "It's the stuff that dreams are made of."
Jackson said: "I was just glad it went over. It was the type of kick I could easily have missed."
It was the type of contest in which Scotland could have missed out. Parks put them in front with a third-minute penalty but Samoa sliced through with their first foray across halfway. The ninth-minute move was launched and finished by the scrum-half Kahn Fotualii but the cutting edge was provided by Seilala Mapusua, the London Irish midfield maestro whipping the ball left to George Pisi before scooping up a grubber kick from his fellow centre and supplying a scoring pass. Paul Williams – son of the All Black legend Bryan – converted.
Scotland's response was swift. From a 5m scrum the Ospreys wing Nikki Walker, another Aberdonian, took a crash ball from Parks and dived under the posts.
There was precious little for the shivering crowd to savour for the rest of the first half but the Scots were 13-10 up at the end of it, Parks having kicked the conversion and a penalty and Williams having kicked his first penalty. Two more penalties by Williams, either side of Parks' 53rd-minute drop-goal, left the scores all square. Scotland never stopped pressing and they got their reward right at the death.
Scotland H Southwell (Stade Français); N Walker (Ospreys), J Ansbro (Northampton), G Morrison (Glasgow), S Lamont (Scarlets); D Parks (Cardiff Blues), R Lawson (capt, Gloucester); A Jacobsen, R Ford (both Edinburgh), E Murray (Northampton), N Hines (Leinster), R Gray (Glasgow), K Brown (Saracens), J Barclay, R Vernon (both Glasgow). Replacements M Blair (Edinburgh) for Lawson, 56; M Low (Glasgow) for Murray, 59; J Hamilton (Gloucester) for Gray, 59; R Jackson (Glasgow) for Parks, 59; M Evans (Glasgow) for Ansbro, 59; D Hall (Glasgow) for Ford, 74; R Rennie (Edinburgh) for Vernon, 74.
Samoa P Williams (Sale); D Lemi (Wasps), G Pisi (Taranaki), S Mapusua (London Irish), A Tuilagi (Leicester); T Lavea (Clermont Auvergne), K Fotualii (Hawke's Bay); S Taulafo (Wasps), M Schwalger (capt, Taranaki), C Johnston (Toulouse), F Levi (Newcastle), K Thompson (Southland), O Trevarinus (Apia West), M Salavea (Narbonne), G Stowers (London Irish). Replacements T Paulo (Clermont Auvergne) for Schwalger, 61; A Perenise (Hawke's Bay) for Johnston, 61; I Tekori (Castres) for Thompson, 61; A Aiono (Apia West) for Treviranus, 66; D Leo (Begles-Bordeaux) for Salavea, 75.
Referee S Walsh (Australia).
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