Planet Rugby

Scotland gain patchy win

09th September 2007 18:48

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Rob Dewey v Portugal

Rob Dewey struggles through

Scotland managed to gain all five points from their first Pool C match against World Cup debutantes Portugal on Sunday, in a 56-10 win.

Those who expected Portugal to wilt under the pressure of a side with significantly more World Cup experience than them were sorely mistaken. Right from the anthems the signs pointed to a rousing display, full of courage and passion from the Portuguese.

Os Lobos positively belted their anthem out, while Scotland went about theirs in an altogether more sombre manner. That was reflected in the way they played for large periods. They did eventually run away with the game, but the performance will be of concern to coach Frank Hadden.

The early stages of this intriguing affair were dominated by Scotland, but too many basic errors cost them dear. Many expected the floodgates to open early, but despite an early brace of neatly taken tries from the impressive Rory Lamont, Scotland found the going tough.

The opening try demonstrated Lamont's power, while his second was a show of his pace, having fended off the last defender to race away. Both tries were converted and it seemed Scotland would kick on and rack up an impressive score. But Portugal had other ideas, despite a third Scots try, from hooker Scott Lawson after a clever cross field kick by Dan Parks.

With the majority of the crowd firmly behind Portugal they were brought to life with the most popular score of the evening. The crafty Duarte Cardoso Pinto, who impressed throughout, was able to free his arms in contact to find Pedro Carvalho who somehow squeezed his way over. The joy of the Portugal players was unbridled and the score was no less than they deserved.

Conceding a try straight from the re-start showed the frailty of this Portuguese side, Rob Dewey the benefactor, and again all signs pointed to Scotland finally getting into their stride. But again, back came the plucky Portuguese, and again they were rewarded again for their efforts. With Jason White being a little over eager to break from a defensive scrum he afforded Pinto another shot at goal. Again the little fly-half slotted the points.

A series of penalties, four in as many minutes, from Portugal resulted in a yellow card for João Uva as referee Steve Walsh finally lost patience. The fact they did not concede a single point whilst a man down is a testament to their spirit, although some of the rugby played by Scotland in the same period was truly woeful.

Looking more relaxed with the ball in hand, and making their first time tackles count, Portugal frustrated Scotland for close to twenty second-half minutes. Yet, as expected, their legs began to tire, and Scotland found the going somewhat easier as they added four tries in the closing quarter.

But Portugal were not without their chances during this period, the most notable wasted by Carvalho, who dropped the ball with a three-man overlap begging. As it was they would fail to trouble the scorers again, not for the want of trying.

What will have pleased Tomás Morais is that his side did not simply gift Scotland tries. Each and every second-half try was a result of concerted pressure, with the Portuguese back row prominent in defence, and captain Vasco Uva playing the game of his life.

If Scotland harbour serious quarter final ambitions they will need to play with more structure and less wild abandon than they did here. Too often they tried to force the issue, not to mention failing to execute the basics of passing. On several occasions they lost all momentum in their attacks through poor passing as players had to check their runs to take passes behind them.

Having played two warm-up games and spent the last three months together as a squad there is no excuse for such rudimentary errors. Credit must go to the manner in which Portugal hounded the Scots; their defence was tenacious, if what a little scrappy at times.

For Scotland the main objective was achieved, a bonus point victory, but they will leave for Edinburgh with much to ponder. Portugal on the other hand emerge from a gruelling encounter with much credit and more than a few admirers of their passionate style.

Man of the match: Whilst Rory Lamont impressed with a two-try performance this award goes to Portugal. Despite a heavy defeat in their World Cup debut they had several star performers. The best of them was captain Vasco Uva, who never stopped working in both attack and defence and was the epitome of the manner in which Portugal approached this game. A superb display which inspired his team mates to follow suit.

Moment of the match: Call us sentimental but it has to be Carvalho's try, the first ever by Portugal in Rugby World Cup history, and a much deserved one at that.

Villain of the match: Nothing out of sorts from anybody, a good clean game.

The scorers:

For Scotland:

Tries: R. Lamont 2, Lawson, Dewey, Parks, Southwell, Brown, Ford

Cons: Parks 5, Paterson 3

For Portugal:

Try: Carvalho

Con: Pinto

Pen: Pinto

Yellow card: João Uva (Portugal - 39th minute, repeated team infringements)

Scotland: 15 Rory Lamont, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Marcus Di Rollo, 12 Rob Dewey, 11 Simon Webster, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Simon Taylor 7 Allister Hogg, 6 Jason White (c), 5 Scott Murray, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Allan Jacobsen.

Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Gavin Kerr, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Kelly Brown, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Chris Paterson, 22 Hugo Southwell.

Portugal: 15 Pedro Leal, 14 David Mateus, 13 Federico Sousa, 12 Diogo Mateus, 11 Pedro Carvalho, 10 Duarte Cardoso Pinto, 9 José Pinto, 8 Vasco Uva (c), 7 João Uva, 6 Juan Severino Somoza, 5 David Penalva, 4 Gonçalo Uva, 3 Ruben Spachuck, 2 Joaquim Ferreira, 1 Rui Cordeiro.

Replacements: 16 Juan Manuel Muré, 17 João Correia, 18 Paulo Murinello, 19 Diogo Coutinho, 20 Luis Pissarra, 21 Pedro Cabral, 22 Miguel Portela.

Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Hugh Watkins (Wales)

Television match official: Dave Pearson (England)

Assessor: Tappe Henning (South Africa)

By Marcus Leach

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