Four tries in 15 minutes has Scots flying

by AFP

Scotland kicked off their mid-year tour in grand style on Saturday, thumping an undisciplined Italy 34-13 at Singapore's National Stadium in the team's first outing under new coach Gregor Townsend.

After struggling to turn their early dominance into points, the Scots piled on four unanswered tries in a 15-minute blitz once their new combinations finally started to click and the Italians began to wilt in the sweltering humidity of Southeast Asia.

Scrumhalf Ali Price and winger Tim Visser both scored in the final few minutes before halftime to give Scotland a commanding 13-3 lead at the break. 

Then hooker Ross Ford -- who had scored just once in his previous 107 appearances for Scotland -- crossed twice at the start of the second term to blow the margin out to 24 points.

"There's still a few things to work on but we came here to win and that's what we were working on during the week," said Townsend.

"We got our rewards in the first half and played some good rugby in the second half."

Italy, thrashed 29-0 by Scotland in this year's Six Nations, were their own worst enemies at times, conceding a string of penalties through ill-discipline.

The Italians looked to be in danger of an even heavier loss after giving up four quick tries but finished the match strongly and were rewarded with two late consolation touchdowns against the run of play through outside centre Michele Campagnaro and wing Angelo Esposito.


Scotland 34

Tries: Price, Visser, Ford 2, Hoyland.

Cons: Russell 2, Taylor 1, Horne 1

Pens: Russell 1

Italy 13

Tries: Campagnaro, Esposito

Pens: Allan 1

Japan vs Romania

Japan ground out a 33-21 victory over Romania on Saturday in Kumamoto in the first of three home Tests against opponents they are set to face at the next World Cup.

The Brave Blossoms, who will host rugby's showcase tournament in 2019, overcame a sluggish start in Kumamoto before tries from Akihito Yamada, Kenki Fukuoka and Michael Leitch provided the spark.

Flyhalf Jumpei Ogura booted 18 points in seven-for-seven kicking for Japan, who have two games against Ireland in the next two weeks.


Japan 33

Tries: Yamada, Fukuoka, Leitch

Cons: Ogura 3

Pens: Ogura 4

Romania 21

Tries: Macovei, Tangimana

Cons: Vlaicu

Pens: Vlaicu 3

South Africa vs France

The Springboks opened their 2017 with a win. Photo: Getty ImagesSouth Africa coach Allister Coetzee hailed the Springboks' resurgent form against France on Saturday in their 37-14 win in the first clash of a three-Test series.

"We have closed the chapter on 2016, I have selected the best possible squad to take on France," he said of last year's woeful performances during a post-match press conference at Loftus Versfeld.

Coetzee will be hoping that the breakthrough will put to bed a woeful run of form - seven losses in eight Tests - that had raised questions about his future leading the team.

While Coetzee has insisted he is going nowhere, a 3-0 series loss to France would probably have left South African officials with no option but to dismiss him.


South Africa 37

Tries: Kriel, penalty try, Cronje, Serfontein

Cons: Jantjies 3)

Pens: Jantjies 3

 France 14

Tries: Chavancy, Serin

Cons: Plisson 2

USA vs Ireland

Ireland ran in nine tries to overwhelm the USA 55-19 at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. Keith Earls led the scoring for the visitors with a double while Simon Zebo also got on the score sheet with a try. 


USA 19

Tries: Civetta, Quill, Matyas

Cons: MacGinty 2 

Ireland 55

Tries: Earls 2, Stockdale, Scannell, Marmion, Conan, Ryan, McGrath, Zebo

Cons: Ringrose, Carbery 2, Scannell 2.