Scotland’S Proud Advance To World Cup Quarter Finals
Scotland have secured their place in the World Cup quarter finals, winning a tough contest against Italy by 18-16. The proud record of being one of only five countries to have qualified for at least every World Cup quarter-final was thus maintaine, but in the most dramatic and tension-riddled circumstances. Scotland have secured their place in the World Cup quarter finals, winning a tough contest against Italy by 18-16 at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard in St Etienne. The proud record of being one of only five countries to have qualified for at least every World Cup quarter-final was thus maintained… but in the most dramatic and tension-riddled circumstances. The rain had a large say in proceedings which meant it was not the prettiest of victories, but another perfect kicking performance from Chris Paterson in his 80th capped match, put Scotland through to the next stages of the tournament. Paterson’s 100% goal-kicking record -15 out of 15 in the tournament -also saw him top 600 points in his distinguished international career. Speaking after the match, coach Frank Hadden paid tribute to the work put in by the whole squad over the past two years. He said: “I remember a year ago having a conversation with George (Graham) and Alan (Tait) when we were planning for this. We said, what if when we play them it is raining? We knew we had to get our pack up to speed as the Italian eight is as good as anything in world rugby especially in these conditions. It is a tribute to our fitness coaches and also to George. Their efforts meant we undoubtedly won tonight. “Obviously Chris Paterson and his goal kicking was sensational, as was Dan Parks’ kicking. I’d like to pay tribute to the hours and hours of practice which has put Chris in the position he is in now and he thoroughly deserves the accolades which are coming his way. “It was going to be a game of limited opportunities and the work we’ve done over the last year or so gave us the confidence to hold our nerve against a formidable opposition who did not deserve to go out.” Captain Jason White also spoke of the conditions which played such a part in the game. He said: “We thought it was going to be dry and were a little surprised when the wind picked up and the rain came down. It was a battle with a lot of kicking and territory and the guys gutsed it out. The main thing is we won. “We realise we need to play better next week to win but we definitely have a chance and without being disrespectful, it would be easier playing Argentina rather than France in Paris with the crowd behind them. The main thing is to worry about ourselves, taking some pride from today but keeping our feet on the ground and we’re keen to improve.” A quick start from the Scots saw them chase the ball from the outset as they kicked deep into the Italian 22 through man of the match Parks. Pressure was duly applied which saw them being awarded a scrum just ten metres out from the try line. The Italians were caught offside and Paterson took the opportunity to kick for points just two minutes in, the first time Scotland opted to go for the posts in such circumstances in this tournament. Then we saw a mirror image of the first run of play -this time from the restart kick as Italy also kicked the ball deep and were given a scrum. However the Scots turned over possession and Mike Blair kicked the ball deep upfield into the Italian 22. There, Mauro Bergamasco pounced on the ball only to be penalised for holding on, giving Paterson a chance to add another three points, which old dead-eye took making it 6-0 after five minutes. Parks kicked deep into the opposition half once again and more Scots’ tenacity followed, as Mauro Bergamasco was penalised and sent to the sin bin for tackling Simon Taylor without the ball. Scotland opted to go for the lineout on this occasion but could not make the extra man count. Instead it was the Italians who were next to score as they sparked into life and entered the Scotland half for the first time. Ramiro Pez hoisted a high ball into the 22, where Rory Lamont was unable to catch it, in the face of fierce competition. It bounced off his chest and into the opposition’s hands and captain Alessandro Troncon forced his way over the line for the try from the subsequent ruck. David Bortolussi added the conversion to take the lead. The Azzurri added another three points five minutes later when Scotland were penalised for coming in from the side and Bortolussi successfully kicked for the posts from just inside his own half to put his team into a 10-6 lead going into the second quarter of the match. Scotland looked as though things may become bleaker as Rory Lamont clattered to the ground after Andrea Masi got under him as he opted to boot the ball clear spectacularly and landed awkwardly on his shoulder/head. However, he was able to continue but only for few more minutes, where he was then replaced by Hugo Southwell. Rory Lamont was taken to hospital as a precaution for attention to that head knock and post-match his parents and brother, Sean, headed with the Scotland medical team to visit him. Italy continued to pressure although Pez’s drop goal attempt and Bortolussi’s penalty kick from halfway both went wide. It was Scotland who then added three points instead, after a high tackle on Parks. Paterson’s successful kick brought his international points tally to precisely 600, and brought his side to within a point of Italy after 35 minutes. The left wing then pushed his team into the lead three minutes later with another kick clean through the posts for a 12-10 advantage that was held until half-time. Italy had an early chance to retake the lead with a penalty kick three minutes in, but it fell just short. Southwell then put Scotland into a prime attacking position with a kick from his own mark, forcing the opposition to concede a lineout to the Scots on their own 22. Play then went into centre field and the Italians were penalised giving Paterson a perfect position to kick another three points and stretch the lead. Minutes later he was on target with his sixth penalty to extend Scotland’s advantage to 18-10 after 52 minutes. That seemed to fire up Italy who were attacking deep in the Scotland half and ten metres from the line, Nathan Hines was penalised for a high tackle and given a yellow card -a harsh decision by referee Jonathan Kaplan as it appeared very clear that Hines had simply enveloped his opponent. Bortolussi stepped up and narrowed the gap by three points. The rain continued to fall in the second half, the weather causing problems throughout in terms of handling the slippery ball. Italy used their one-man advantage in the pack and forced the penalty from Scotland and Bortolussi was given another scoring chance from a comfortable distance which he took, bringing his side to within two points of the Scots. Blair took a high kick and ran with the ball before passing to Paterson and the Scots were awarded a scrum just outside the Italian 22. However, they were unable to stand up to the eight man pack, and Italy were awarded a free kick although they made nothing from it and Scotland kept them back in their own half at which point Hines returned to the field. Scotland then looked more fluent but again, the rain soaked ball and pitch made life difficult and they could not quite achieve continuity. The coach brought on more fresh legs as Rory Lawson and Scott Macleod were unleashed from the bench, Kelly Brown, Andrew Henderson and Craig Smith having already entered the fray. As the clock ticked towards injury time, Scottish fans’ heads were in their hands as Italy had a chance to take the lead by a point with a penalty kick. Bortolussi stepped up from almost the same spot as he’d previously done when his attempt was short -four metres inside the Scotland half and nine metres from the touchline -and again, he failed to hit the target. Hearts were still in mouths as Italy then showed their best wide attacking rugby of the night, edging closer downfield and briefly into Scotland’s half although they were pushed back but they then opted to kick ahead. Parks was ready and although Italy were on him quickly, the game had run its course and as he was bundled into touch, the referee blew time on what was a touch-and-go match, but one which saw Scotland win their place in the quarter finals of the World Cup, by 18-16. Parks expressed his excitement afterwards about the prospect of his first World Cup quarter final, and spoke of his kicking which played such an important part in the victory. “We had to do that. It was part of our plan going into the game and when it was wet, it was crucial. We played well but still made errors which we need to sort out.” Paterson said: “It is a relief more than anything. The game has been hanging over us for a while, since the draw was made, and wherever you turned, we could not forget that. It was not pretty but we got the win and we’re off to Paris. “The pressure is now off us as a lot is expected of our potential opponents, whoever they might be with Argentina most likely. We have not yet shown our hand, but hopefully the best will come out of Scotland next week.” Scotland Rory Lamont (Sale Sharks); Sean Lamont (Northampton Saints), Simon Webster (Edinburgh), Rob Dewey (Ulster), Chris Paterson (Gloucester); Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors), Mike Blair (Edinburgh); Gavin Kerr (Edinburgh), Ross Ford (Glasgow Warriors), Euan Murray (Northampton Saints), Nathan Hines (Perpignan), Jim Hamilton (Leicester Tigers), Jason White (Sale Sharks) CAPTAIN, Simon Taylor (Stade Francais), Allister Hogg (Edinburgh) Substitutes Scott Lawson (Sale Sharks), Craig Smith (Edinburgh) for Kerr 67 mins, Scott MacLeod (Llanelli Scarlets) for Hamilton 75 mins, Kelly Brown (Glasgow Warriors) for Hogg 72 mins, Chris Cusiter (Perpignan) for Blair 75 mins, Andrew Henderson (Glasgow Warriors) for Dewey 60 mins, Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh) for R Lamont 28 mins Scorers: Penalties: Paterson 6 ItalyDavid Bortolussi; Kaine Robertson, Gonzalo Canale, Mirco Bergamasco, Andrea Masi; Ramiro Pez, Alessandro Troncon CAPTAIN; Salvatore Perugini, Carlo Festuccia, Martin Castrogiovanni, Santiago Dellapè, Carlo Del Fava, Josh Sole, Sergio Parisse, Mauro Bergamasco Substitutes Fabio Ongaro for Festuccia 53 mins, Andrea Lo Cicero for Perugini 52 mins, Valerio Bernabò, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Paul Griffen, Roland de Marigny, Ezio Galon Scorers Try: Troncon Conversions: Bortolussi Penalties: Bortolussi Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa) Man of the match: Dan Parks Attendance: 34,701 Our picture shows Scotland lock Jim Hamilton on the charge.