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Scotland edge Samoa in thriller

By Alex Fisher
Scotland international Stuart Hogg

Gregor Townsend’s first home game in charge of Scotland ended in a 44-38 victory over Samoa in a thrilling 11-try Test at Murrayfield.

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Townsend replaced Vern Cotter in May and has overseen successes over Australia and Italy in his three games in charge.

His first match in front of home support began in sensational fashion as Stuart Hogg scored inside two minutes, the full-back profiting from a lucky bounce to touch down under the posts.

Another five tries – including two from hooker Stuart McInally – followed as Scotland kicked off their November internationals with an entertaining win.

They will hope to pose a similar attacking threat when they host New Zealand and the Wallabies, but their defence will need to improve against such strong opponents.

Hogg’s opening score came after 90 seconds as he seized on a Tommy Seymour kick, the winger having clipped on Finn Russell’s grubber.

Russell added two penalties before Samoa forced their way back into the match through Josh Tyrell as he converted from a close-range ruck.

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Scotland finished the half strongly, though, as Huw Jones and McInally both touched down with the only disappointment of a pulsating first 40 minutes being WP Nel’s substitution with a suspected broken forearm.

If the home crowd had expected the hosts to push on and wrap up a comfortable win after the break they were very much mistaken as Samoa came close to causing an upset.

McInally’s second of the game came off the back of another driving maul, but defensively gaps were beginning to open up and Samoa took full advantage.

Piula Faasalele and the impressive Tim Nanai-Williams both crossed and although Alex Dunbar powered over for the hosts, Samoa were back to within six when Nanai-Williams converted Kieron Fonotia’s try.

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When Peter Horne collected a superb inside pass from Cornell Du Preez the game again looked beyond Samoa, only for Ofisa Treviranus to set up a nervous final few minutes.

Scotland were able to hang on, though, and record their fifth successive win at Murrayfield, their best winning run at home since 1991.

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Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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