Scotland’s second string raise the roof at Fortress Netherdale

Scotland A 32

Ireland A 13


STUART CAMERON reports from Netherdale

The home fans among the 3,346 people who turned up at Netherdale to watch Scotland A take on a strong Irish second string team were rewarded with a victory under the leadership of former Jed-Forest scrum half Greig Laidlaw.

After just five minutes the Scots took the lead with a David Blair penalty, but weak tackling allowed Willie Faloon in for a try four minutes later under the posts, converted by Ian Humphreys.

Two penalties for both sides took the score to 13-9 at the break, but it was Scotland who came out with attitude in the second half and took control of the game with 23 unanswered points.

There was plenty at stake for both sides, with nearly 20 fully-capped players on the pitch, and many of them were wanting to put in a display which would catch the eye of the respective national coaches in time for the 6 Nations campaign. Scott MacLeod, Johnnie Beattie, Laidlaw, Moray Low and Geoff Cross in particular had points to prove.

It was Low who bundled over for a try when Laidlaw decided to kick for touch instead of going for goal after a penalty.

It paid off when the line-ou was won and Blair’s conversion put Scotland in front.

Three penalties (two for Blair and one for Laidlaw) stretched the lead before Hefin O’Hare sprinted in for a converted try in injury time to give Scotland A a third consecutive win at Netherdale, which sent the locals home happy.

Speaking after the game Laidlaw said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the performance and to be named man of the match, but there were plenty of candidates out there tonight. I thought Geoff Cross had a fantastic game.”

There’s clearly a lot of confidence in the camp with all of the players trying to prove a point to the onlooking head coach of Scotland Andy Robinson that they should be in his plans for the 6 Nations. And, while keeping his cards close to his chest about who he was going to name in his starting squad for France, he was clearly pleased with what he saw.

“It was a good performance and I was delighted with the way the boys played, particularly in the second half. I thought Geoff Cross had a good game and Dougie Hall came through well,” he said.

Scotland A: J. Thompson; H. O’Hare, B. Cairns, J. Houston, L. Jones; D. Blair, G. Laidlaw; J. Welsh, D. Hall, G. Cross, S. MacLeod, F. McKenzie, R. Wilson, A. MacDonald, J. Beattie. Subs: F. Thomson, M. Low, R. Harley, R. Grant, C. Gregor, P. Murchie, C. Shaw. Subs: N. Bradey, J. Hagen, A. Brown, D. Ryan, I. Boss, N. O’Conner and I. Whitten.