RLWC Match Report: Samoa v Scotland
The Scotland Bravehearts have lived up to their name and put on a valiant display to almost upsetting heavyweights, Toa Samoa, with nothing to split the two teams after 80 minutes.
Scotland finished equal with Samoa on 14 points apiece, despite missing their captain and playing most of the game down to 15 men. Scotland proved they can match it with the best outplaying Samoa for most of the game largely thanks to playmaker, Danny Addy.
The draw means Samoa progress through to the quarterfinals on for-and-against while Scotland’s World Cup campaign comes to a heart-breaking end.
The Bravehearts came out strong and shocked the Samoans in the opening 10 minutes, holding the ball and testing out Samoa early.
And it took just four minutes before Scotland opened the scoring through five-eighth, Danny Addy, who put a crafty chip kick over Samoa’s defensive line for fullback Lewis Tierney to put the ball down.
Having not won an international game in over three years, Scotland were showing the type of form which earned number four world ranking.
But after weathering an early storm, Samoa finally worked their way down into some good attacking territory.
And on their first attacking raid of the game, Junior Paulo, barged his way over after receiving a short ball on the line, being too much to handle for the lone Scottish defender.
With the scores tied at six-apiece Scotland took a chance in the 17th minute to go two ahead, going for a penalty kick from 40 metres out.
With the ball placed on the red 40-metre line, Addy sent the ball straight through the uprights to give Scotland back the lead at 8-6.
With the wind in their sails, Scotland kept control of the match finishing the first half with 61 percent of the possession.
And in the 27th minute, the Bravehearts once again got past Samoa after Frankie Mariano plucked a Tim Lafai offload before it even left his hand to snag a four-pointer out of nowhere.
Now trailing 14-6 with half-time quickly approaching Samoa blew a chance just before the siren as they slowly walked off the field contemplating what was going wrong.
At the start of the second half, Samoa came out to repair a completion rate of just 58 percent in the first half and claw their way back into the game.
And in the 49th minute they found an early breakthrough after Matthew Write tiptoed his way down the side-line to bring the deficit within four points.
As the second half slowly ticked away, Samoa had to weather a second storm as the heavens opened up over Barlow Park.
As the rain fell, the match turned into an arm wrestle as both sides struggled to gain a grip on the match.
But in the 65th minute after repeated raids on Scotland’s line, Samoa finally broke through after Young Tonumaipea was put into a gaping hole and went over untouched to level the scores.
Matthew Write had an opportunity to add the extras and give Samoa the lead but the Manly centre swung the ball across the face as we entered the final 10 minutes with the scores level, 14-all.
As full-time drew closer and with both teams knowing a win will advance them into the finals, both teams lifted and desperately tried to take the lead.
Then in the 73rd minute, Scotland had a chance to go in-front after Sam Tagataese conceded a penalty in a similar spot to where Addy slotted his first penalty kick.
But this time around the Kingston Rovers half pushed it wide as the game remained in a deadlock.
Scotland now shifted to field goal mode with the 1-point option seeming the only way they could come away with a win.
In the 79th minute, Scotland had their last chance to clinch an amazing upset victory but the strong breeze blew Addy's kick to the side of the posts as their World Cup campaign came to a heart-breaking end.
Both teams stood still after full-time either distraught or relieved, as Samoa progresses into the quarter-finals by the skin of their teeth, finishing equal with Scotland 14-all but progressing on for-and-against average.
Toa Samoa 14 (Junior Paulo, Matthew Wright, Young Tonumaipea tries; Matthew Wright 1 goals) drew with Scotland 14 (Lewis Tierney, Frankie Mariano tries; Danny Addy 3 goals) at Barlow Park, Cairns. Crowd: 4309.
James Coman1 | @JamesComan1
Rugby League World Cup 2017 Reporter