Scotland’s winning try a forwards’ call

Like Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army, Vern Cotter’s message to his Scotland troops was “don’t panic”.

The Scots duly held their nerve and with a late try secured a 36-33 victory of Samoa to confirm their place in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Try-scoring hero Greig Laidlaw praised his forwards for the bold decision five minutes from time to turn down the penalty and take the scrum that ultimately produced the match-winning try.

If they had taken the shot at goal instead, Samoa would most likely be celebrating.

With time running out and Samoa threatening to break free at anytime, Scotland were awarded a penalty under the posts when they held a slender three point lead.

Laidlaw had kept Scotland in the game until then with five penalties, but was told by his tiring forwards to reject the option for another three and go for seven.

It proved the winning decision as Scotland had no sooner scored than Samoa bounced back with a late try of their own, leaving the final margin at three points.

“I’m very proud of the boys and the way they played,” Laidlaw said.

“We were down at halftime and they showed the character and necessary resources to come back and finish that game.

“It showed when they took that scrum instead of taking three points just how much it meant to them. They understood the importance of the situation and got the try.”

Samoa, with nothing at stake, shocked Scotland with their fast-paced and intensely physical game.

It wasn’t until the 53rd minute, when the penalties began to mount against Samoa, that Scotland were able to hit the front for the first time but they were never able to pull away.

“We were concerned but we weren’t worried,” Laidlaw admitted.

“The message at halftime was ‘don’t panic, it will take 80 minutes to grind them down’.

“We’ve done what we said we wanted to and that was don’t panic through the game.”

Scotland coach Vern Cotter said they were taken by surprise by an impressive Samoa who exposed defensive weaknesses – with Laidlaw’s men guilty of 28 missed tackles – and a problem with securing kick offs.

“We weren’t particularly good there. They got the ball back from there and put us under pressure,” he said of the restarts.

Cotter said there would be a comprehensive analysis of problem areas when they do their video review before their first knockout match, in which they face Australia, next weekend.

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