Try scoring Scotland ease past Tonga

Scotland continued to show that they are an improving side when they scored five tries in their 37-12 Test victory over Tonga at KIlkmarnock Rugby Park on Saturday afternoon.

The match was played on a plastic pitch but tries from Blair Cowan, Stuart Hogg, Alex Dunbar, Geoff Cross and Tommy Seymour helped Scotland settle a two year old score against the Tongans.

In recent years Scotland have struggled to cross the whitewash but under new coach Vern Cotter the Scots are playing with confidence and not afraid to run freely with the ball.

In the first international match involving a Tier One nation played on an artificial surface, Scotland overcame a poor first-half performance to avenge the 21-15 defeat they suffered against the Tongans at Pittodrie Stadium in Aderdeen in November 2012, an occasion on which they conspicuously failed to cross the opposition try line.

In doing so, the Scots completed a satisfactory first home series under Kiwi coach Vern Cotter, having beaten Argentina 41-31 and pushed New Zealand hard before losing 24-16.

Scotland were on the front foot from the off. Fly half Finn Russell spurned a kickable penalty in favour of an attacking line-out in the left corner but Scotland made a mess of the set-piece opportunity.

Number Eight Johnnie Beattie also suffered a turnover when attempting to barge through the Tonga defence and it was the Pacific Islanders who were first to get points on the board.

In the tenth minute fly-half Latiume Fosita bisected the posts with a penalty from tight to the left touchline after Hogg failed to roll away from a tackle.

That gave Tonga a 3-0 lead but they were a man down in the 14th minute when their captain and openside flanker Nili Latu was yellow carded by referee JP Doyle for obstructing Richie Gray at a ruck close to the Tongan try line.

Scotland took advantage a minute later, New Zealand born flanker Cowan scoring from the back of a driving maul to claim his first try for his adopted country.

Scotland captain and scrum-half Greig Laidlaw landed the conversion to give Scotland a 7-3 lead but two penalties in as many minutes by Fosita put Tonga back in front, 9-7, with 23 minutes on the clock.

The tourists were back to their full complement of 15 players, Latu returning from the sin bin, when Scotland were reduced to 14.

Dunbar was yellow carded for a tip tackle on full back Vungakoto Lilo and, while the inside centre was in the pitch-side cooler, Fosita stepped up to nail his fourth penalty, extending Tonga’s lead to 12-7.

Scotland almost hit back in the 31st minute but they were penalised for offside when Fosita had a kick charged down by Laidlaw in Tonga’s in-goal area and Russell raced to touch down the loose ball.

Two minutes later the hosts had their second try, though. A tackle from Russell forced Tonga spill the the ball while attacking in the Scotland 22 and Hogg picked it up and raced 80 metres to score. Laidlaw converted, furnishing Scotland with a 14-12 advantage at the interval.

The Scots conceded nine penalties in an error-strewn first half and were fortunate when Fosita registered his first place kicking miss, pushing an attempt wide from 40m, five minutes into the second-half.

Three minutes later, however, Scotland had a third try on the board, courtesy of some fine footwork by Dunbar. The Glasgow centre collected a zipped pass from Russell and deftly nipped past two defenders before scoring in the right corner.

Laidlaw missed the touchline conversion but then converted two penalties, pushing Scotland’s lead to 25-12.

In the defeat against Tonga in Aberdeen two years ago Scotland failed to cross the opposition whitewash but they did so for a fourth time in Kilmarnock, their prodigiously bearded tighthead prop Cross burrowing over from a close-range ruck.

Laidlaw’s conversion made it 32-12 but Scotland were still not finished. With three minutes to go Russell hoisted a Garryowen into the right corner and Seymour pounced for his third try in as many matches.

Final Score Scotland 37 (14) Tonga 12 (12)


Tries – Cowan, Hogg, Dunbar, Cross, Seymour
Pen – Laidlaw (2)
Con – Laidlaw (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries –
Pen – Fosita (4)
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Match Official
: JP Doyle (ENG).



Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Sean Lamont, Alex Dunbar, Tim Visser; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (Capt); Johnnie Beattie, Blair Cowan, Rob Harley, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Geoff Cross, Ross Ford, Alasdair Dickinson.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Ryan Grant, Kieran Low, Alasdair Strokosch, Chris Cusiter, Duncan Weir, Duncan Taylor.


Vungakoto Lilo; David Halaifonua, Siale Piutau, Hermani Paea, Tetu’u Vainikolo; Latiume Fosita, Sonatane Takulua; Viliami Ma’afu, Nili Latu (Capt), Sione Kalamafoni, Joe Tu’ineau, Tukulua Lokotui, Paea Fa’anunu, Aleki Lutui, Tevita Mailau.

Replacements: Elvis, Taione, Sione Lea, Sila Puafisi, Lisiate Fa’aoso, Hale T-Pole, Tomasi Palu, Kurt Morath, Sione Piukala.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.