Scotland win but draw few positives
June 14, 2014
A Greig Laidlaw penalty eight minutes from time helped Scotland to a 19-17 victory over Canada in Toronto.
Vern Cotter's second match in charge of the Dark Blues was a nervy affair, but ended in triumph thanks to Laidlaw's 11-point match haul and a first-half try from Grant Gilchrist. Canadian flanker Jeb Sinclair saw red late in the game for a dangerous tackle on Scotland fly-half Ruaridh Jackson as the home side fell just short of a famous upset.
Scotland came into the game looking for a confidence boost after last weekend's 24-6 victory over USA - a less than impressive start to Cotter's tenure. The visitors made a good start as the pack won a penalty from the first scrum and Laidlaw kicked Scotland into a 3-0 lead.
Canada hit back immediately as scrum-half Phil Mack crossed the line only for the try to chalked off after the television match official ruled that winger Jeff Hassler had knocked-on in the build-up. The hosts shrugged off that disappointment and were soon level when full-back James Pritchard kicked his first penalty of the day to make it 3-3 in the 21st minute.
Canada took an 8-3 lead three minutes later when Hassler crashed over despite a last-gasp tackle from Tim Visser. Pritchard could not add the conversion and Scotland were on terms in the 28th minute when lock Gilchrist scored his side's only try of the match after fine forward play by his colleagues. Laidlaw took Scotland into a 10-8 lead by converting Gilchrist's score.
Laidlaw slotted another penalty a minute from the interval to ensure Cotter's side were 13-8 to the good at the break. Canada took control of the early exchanges after the restart as Pritchard landed two penalties to put the hosts back in the lead.
Stuart Hogg and Pritchard kicked penalties for their sides as the lead exchanged hands twice going into the final quarter of the match. Pritchard's third penalty attempt of the second half struck the post before Laidlaw stepped up in the 71st minute to land his third three-pointer of the game and give Scotland the lead once again - one they would not relinquish.
Sinclair was then given his marching orders for a forearm smash on Jackson and the Dark Blues held on for a narrow victory.
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