Tue, Oct 21, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Scrappy Scots beat disappointing US

REUTERS , BRISBANE

Scotland's Gregor Townsend, left, is tackled by the US' Phillip Eloff and Mike Hercus at the Suncorp stadium in Brisbane yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Two well-taken tries by burly winger Simon Danielli provided the highlight of a disjointed evening as Scotland beat the US 39-15 in a scrappy, error-strewn World Cup pool B match yesterday.

Scotland, with nine changes from the side who labored to a 32-11 win over Japan in their opening game, looked disorganized throughout and were constantly penalized for technical infringements but still had too much quality for an even more disappointing US team.

Danielli's double, in the space of five minutes midway through the first half, another for prop Gavin Kerr and late scores for Gregor Townsend and Chris Paterson made the difference against a US team for whom Mike Hercus kicked five penalties.

The US, who lost 19-18 to Fiji in their first match after flyhalf Hercus missed a last-minute conversion, failed to reach their levels from that match and rarely threatened the Scottish line.

Scotland had much the best of the early exchanges but after 10 minutes they were trailing 6-3 thanks to two Hercus penalties.

Their pressure was rewarded, though, in the 20th minute when Danielli, who scored with his first touch after coming on as a replacement against Japan, injected some pace into the line on the left to score the first try.

Five minutes later he got his second, this time using strength rather than speed to force his way through two defenders after a nice Townsend break had created the opening.

With fullback Glenn Metcalfe looking dangerous and the setpieces, particularly the lineout, solid, Scotland continued to press and claimed their third try three minutes before the break when Kerr charged down scrumhalf Kevin Dalzell's attempted clearance and showed a surprising turn of speed to score.

The US wasted too many promising situations by kicking away possession but came close to a try in first half injury time when their forwards piled up on the Scottish line.

Prop Tom Smith averted the danger with a hand in the ruck to earn himself a yellow card, leaving Hercus a simple penalty to reduce the deficit as the teams reached the turnaround with Scotland leading 24-9.

The Americans almost made a great start to the second half when a Hercus penalty hit the post and center Phillip Eloff charged in to collect the rebound and dive over the line, only for the score to be ruled out for a knock-on.

It was typical of the night for both teams as promising situations were wasted with poor passing or handling errors.

Two Hercus penalties and another for Paterson were the only scores in half an hour's play, although the US lost fullback Paul Emerick to the sin bin for a professional foul.

Scotland earned their bonus point for a fourth try in the 71st minute when good work from Paterson set up Townsend and the former Lions flyhalf showed a nice sidestep to find a gap and score.

The Scots finally put together some sustained pressure to open the way for Paterson to score in the corner two minutes from time and the winger converted his own try for a personal haul of 19 points.

Scotland coach Ian McGeechan will have to find a considerable improvement for the big pool B clash against France in Sydney on Saturday while the US, who have now lost 11 straight World Cup games, will bid for their first win against Japan next Monday in Gosford.

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