Scotland ‘A’ 45
THREE tries for Damien Hoyland, two for George Horne, seven altogether – and more importantly, no apparent injury worries for Gregor Townsend as he looks ahead to the three-Test series against Argentina. If this was some way from being a perfect performance by Scotland ‘A’, especially given the lull which stretched out for 20 minutes and more of the second half, it was a solid and reassuring start to the summer tour nonetheless.
It will be the end of the tour for some of those who took part, the head coach having previously said that his squad of 39 would be too big to keep together for the duration. But of course, the England-based players who were not available for this match will link up with the squad as they move on to Jujuy in the north of Argentina, increasing the quality available to Townsend for the tougher trials which await.
It remains to be seen which players will be released, and which have made themselves indispensable for at least another week or two. Hoyland, for example, made a strong case for his retention. After last representing his country at full international level back in 2017, and having suffered several lengthy injuries since, the Edinburgh winger showed what he can do when fit and in form, scoring two tries before half-time and completing his hat-trick not long after the restart.
The two other touchdowns in the first half at the Estadio Santa Laura Universidad both came from scrum-half Horne, while Ross Thompson’s four successful conversions gave the Scots a 28-0 lead at the break. After Hoyland’s third stretched that advantage to 33 the game lost a lot of its impetus for 20 minutes or more. That gave Chile fresh hope of making some sort of impact on proceedings, and, after coming closer and closer to scoring as full-time approached, they at last did so through Santiago Edwards a few minutes from time.
However, there was still time for Scotland to hit back, and they did so twice, through Rufus McLean and Ali Price. Blair Kinghorn converted the latter to wrap up a reassuringly solid evening’s work.
Earlier, there had been hardly a hint of a wobble from the visitors before they took control. After a quiet first five minutes, a break by Thompson brought the game to life, but when he fed Horne the scrum-half was quickly tackled to the deck by a scrambling home defence. Nonetheless, that was an indication that there were gaps in the Chilean ranks to be exploited, and Scotland began to find more space after a dominant scrum gave them a good platform.
They were halted on the left on that occasion, but another scrum gave them the chance to move quickly to the right, where Hoyland was on hand to finish off in the corner for the opening score. Thompson converted to further settle any nerves.
Five minutes later, captain Crosbie did exactly what he pledged to do, lead by example, as he burst through in midfield. Horne was up in support, and this time there were no defenders around to stop him as he touched down between the posts, leaving Thompson a simple conversion.
Chile were able to venture upfield on occasion, but never for very long, and they fell further behind midway through the half when Horne dummied then dashed to the line after solid work by his forwards. Thompson added another two points.
McLean thought he had scored a fourth try two minutes later, but Horne admitted to the referee that he had knocked forward in the build-up, so Chile were awarded a scrum. They conceded a penalty, however, under extreme pressure in the set piece, so were under the cosh again immediately.
Scotland failed to capitalise on that occasion, and the tempo had dropped noticeably as the half-hour approached. With five minutes left in the half, however, the visitors were awarded a penalty for a no-arms tackle on Scott Cummings in front of the posts.
They tapped and went, and after a dozen phases Jamie Bhatti got over the line – only to be held up. But that was no more than a minor and temporary frustration, and a minute before half-time Hoyland got his second, running in from five metres out after coming infield to support Horne.
In the second half the only real question to be answered was how many more points Scotland would win by. Hoyland completed his hat-trick after 45 minutes thanks to a brilliant lay-off by Cummings. Thompson was off target for the first time in the game, but that was immaterial by then.
Glen Young and Johnny Matthews, both uncapped at this or senior level, came off the bench to inject fresh impetus into the contest. With the match in the bag, tighthead prop Murphy Walker also came on to get some valuable experience, while Magnus Bradbury replaced Ben Muncaster in the back row.
Chile came back into the contest in the closing 15 minutes, but time after time they were denied by some determined defending. With barely three minutes to go, though, Edwards scored an unconverted try from close range to give the home crowd something to cheer about.
McLean had what looked like the last word for the tourists with a try in the left corner two minutes later, but there was still time for one last attack, and substitutes Mark Bennett and Price combined for the latter to score between the posts. Kinghorn’s conversion was the last action of a match which ended up being exactly the kind of preparation Townsend had hoped for – demanding without ever being too much of a stretch.
Chile: F Urroz (S Videla 46); N Garafulic, P Casas (J Larenas 51), I Ayarza, M Garafulic; R Fernandez (captain), M Torrealba (N Herreros 51); J Carrasco (S Lues 41), T Dussaillant (D Escobar 26), V Lastra (I Gurruchaga 59), S Pedrero, C Saavedra (T Orchard 5), S Edwards, I Silva (R Martinez 41), A Escobar.
Scotland ‘A’: O Smith; D Hoyland, M Currie (M Bennett 69), S Tuipulotu, R McLean; R Thompson (B Kinghorn 69), G Horne (A Price 69); J Bhatti (P Schoeman 69), D Cherry (J Matthews 53), J Sebastian (M Walker 58), J Hodgson, S Cummings (G Young 53), B Muncaster, K Crosbie (captain), M Fagerson (M Bradbury 53).
Referee: A Jones (Wales).
Chile: Try: Edwards (77mins).
Scotland ‘A’: Tries: Hoyland (12, 39, 45), Horne (16, 23), McLean (79), Price (80). Cons: Thompson 4, Kinghorn.
Scoring sequence (Chile first): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 0-14; 0-19; 0-21; 0-26; 0-28 (h-t) 0-33; 5-33; 5-38; 5-43; 5-45.