In their final game of this IRB Junior World Championship, Scotland's under-20 side were edged into 10th place (33-24) this afternoon by a powerful Samoan side, determined to redress their loss to the Scots (36-33) earlier in the tournament.
The 9th/10th place play-off at Stade Pascal Laporte in Nantes, where the Scots have played all their matches, saw the Samoans power ahead in the opening period before Scotland found their feet and fought their way back into contention. Leading by a point going into the last ten minutes, the Scots coudn't counter a final push by Samoa in the last five minutes which saw the opposition victorious, despite a red card for their opening scorer, Nanai, on full time.
Head coach Sean Lineen said: "Samoa were simply better. We tried hard and scored some good tries but, ultimately, were let down by not playing in the right areas.
"We fought hard but couldn't handle their physicality."
It was a nervy opening for both sides, Scotland forcing the error which presented them with the first chance to put points on the board after three minutes through a penalty, the attempt by stand-off Tommy Allan just going wide.
Samoa nailed the first score three minutes later through a try from fullback Nanai, the conversion just sliced. He followed that up barely five minutes later with another touchdown, this time the score was converted by Alatimu to put Samoa 12-0 ahead.
The Scots fought back immediately with a try from Allan, which he converted himself; a clinical restart saw winger Damien Hoyland cross three minutes later, Allan again adding the extras to put the Scots 14-12 ahead after 17 minutes.
Penalties were traded with, first, Alatimu putting Samoa a point ahead then Allan redressing the balance with the boot. On the half hour mark, Slater dotted down for Samoa, the conversion coming up short. There was no further scoring in the opening half to make it 20-17 against the Scots at the break.
Second half fightback
It was Samoa who edged further ahead as the second half got underway, Alatimu's penalty kick clearing the uprights to make it 23-17. Scotland had a chance to close the gap three minutes later but Allan's penalty attempt came up short.
Into the last 20 minutes and full back Robbie Fergusson stormed through the Samoan defence to touch down, the conversion from Allan putting the Scots one point ahead (24-23), a lead they held on to until the last five minutes. A converted try from Samoa at 75 minutes plus a penalty from Alatimu two minutes later put the win beyond Scotland's reach with the full-time score 33-24 in Samoa's favour, their opening scorer Nanai the recipient of a red card just short of the final whistle for a late tackle.
The Scots finished the competition in tenth position, having already qualified for the 2014 Championship by defeating USA in the 9-12 play-off last week.
Scotland under-20 team v Samoa under-20 on Sunday 23 June 2013 at Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes, France
15 Robbie Fergusson (Ayr)
14 Damien Hoyland (Boroughmuir)
13 Chris Auld (Edinburgh Rugby / Gala)
12 Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors)
11 Rory Hughes (Glasgow Warriors / Stirling County)
10 Tommy Allan (Perpignan)
9 Scott Steele (Leicester Tigers)
1 Jamie Bhatti (Stirling County) *
2 Russell Anderson (Gala ) *
3 Phil Cringle (Edinburgh Rugby / Stewart’s-Melville FP)
4 Adam Sinclair (Perpignan)
5 Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors / Currie)
6 Alex Henderson ( Boroughmuir)
7 Will Bordill (Glasgow Warriors)
8 Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors/Stirling County)
16 Callum Black ( Edinburgh Accies) (on for Anderson, 61m)
17 James Malcolm (GHA) *
18 Robby Wilson ( Boroughmuir) (on for Cringle, 78m)
19 Ruairidh Leishman (Stirling County)
20 Eoghan Masterson (Leinster) (on for Sinclair, 48m)
21 Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) (on for Steele, 61m)
22 Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Rugby / Edinburgh Accies) (on for Hoyland, 45m)
23 JJ Kilmartin (Bath Rugby)
* supported by sportscotland Institute of Sport