Scotland 28-12 Fiji: Scots recover from first half scare to win

A careless opening to the match gave Fiji a foothold but Scotland rallied to post a first autumn test win.

Scotland 28-12 Fiji: First half scare but Scots recover to win SNS Group

Scotland were given a fright by the Flying Fijians in their second autumn test – but regrouped to shut out the tourists in the second half and post a morale-boosting win at Murrayfield.

Vern Cotter’s islanders led by five points in the first half as careless Scotland piled pressure on themselves with a series of penalty concessions.

But having edged their noses back in front before half time they produced a more polished performance to send the home fans away happy.

Less than 60 seconds had gone before Ratu Rotuisolia was shown a yellow card and spent ten minutes in the sin bin for cynically stopping a quick tap penalty by Ali Price.

After a collapsed maul set up Scotland with a five metre line out they got back to their effective set piece and rolled over the line with hooker George Turner touching down on seven minutes.

Setariki Tuicuvu passed up an easy chance for three points but from another Scotland offside the Fijians got their breakthrough on 13 minutes.

Securing quick ball the Pacific Islanders moved it through the hands and Tuicuvu had the space to run it in at the corner, despite the best efforts of Stuart Hogg in defence. The conversion was missed to put the score at 7-5.

Scotland’s discipline was poor in the opening quarter and they were punished by Fiji again as muscled over the line.

Hogg was shown a yellow card as a result of the multiple team infringements and the dark blues found themselves a man down and 12-7 behind on the scoreboard.

The Fijians had energy but Scotland found resilience to hold them out and stop them adding to the lead before Hogg returned.

The reintroduction of the full back gave the Scots fresh impetus and they got themselves back in front just before the break as Adam Hastings plundered a try beneath the posts off a strong set scrum effort by the pack.

The whistle sounded for half time with Gregor Townsend’s men shaken, but ahead 14-12.

Hastings only lasted two minutes after the break as a thumping hit by Rotuisolia sent him to the locker room with Blair Kinghorn introduced in his place.

Scotland got some front foot ball and kicked to the corner off a ruck infringement. Playing another advantage from the maul they spun it wide to Duhan van der Merwe who finished in typically robust fashion, powering through the tackle to score.

Kinghorn, who missed the game winning kick against Australia last week, steeled his nerves with an inch-perfect conversion from the touchline.

Fiji received their second yellow card of the day for a dangerous tackle by winger Vinaya Habosi on Rory Sutherland just after the hour mark.

Scotland had a try chalked off in the 73rd minute when Jack Dempsey was spotted to have knocked on in the scrum before Cameron Redpath crossed the line. That came after multiple scrummaging penalties in Scotland’s favour, with Livai Natave taking sin bin number three of the day for Fiji.

That numerical advantage was immediately exploited as the busy replacement scrum half Ben White darted off the base of the scrum to score untouched.

There was a final yellow card of the contest with a minute to play as Darcy Graham was binned for killing Fijian ball on the counter attack but a knock on ended the contest as Scotland now look ahead to huge challenge next weekend when New Zealand come to Edinburgh.

Scotland Player Ratings

Stuart Hogg 7 – Good defence and high ball takes. Stretched his legs in attack a couple of times but more to come from him this autumn.
Darcy Graham 7 – Has cut a frustrated figure at times this autumn but finally managed to create some of his electric line breaks.
Chris Harris 7 – Ultra reliable defender helped close down the narrow channels against some huge Fijian runners. Threatened with ball in hand but unable to fully open up the opposition.
Cameron Redpath 6 – Amazing to think it was his first cap since his memorable debut at Twickenham in 2020. Grew in confidence throughout the game and had a try disallowed.
Duhan van der Merwe 8 – Took his try and made good ground running. Increasingly a strong option under the high ball.
Adam Hastings 7 – Sold a great dummy to run in his try and marshalled the attack efficiently. Game ended by a ferocious hit just after half time.
Ali Price 7 – Alert with early quick tap which milked a yellow card. Kept things ticking over.
Matt Fagerson 7 – With plenty of competition for his shirt the Glasgow Warrior continues to excel with clever carrying and defence. An intelligent link between the forwards and backs.
Hamish Watson 5 – Another quiet game by his high standards.
Jamie Ritchie 7 – Led from the front with his carries and played it safe around the breakdown with the penalty count in mind.
Grant Gilchrist 6 – Called a solid lineout and made some big carries in solid traffic.
Richie Gray 8 – Major player in the lineout, securing ball and competing for steals. A big time return to the test side after five years without a start.
Zander Fagerson 6 – Helped turn around the scrum after an early creak.
George Turner 5 – Showed flashes with ball in hand but withdrawn injured after 30 minutes as attritional defending took its toll.
Pierre Schoeman 7 – Avoided the penalty infringements that hampered his performance against the Wallabies. Strong scrum and a nuisance around the contact area.
Replacements 8 – Ewan Ashman was feisty in the carry and helped turn the scrum into a weapon. Blair Kinghorn ensured continuity when Hastings came off and kicked well. Ben White’s urgency from 9 is an asset and he’s pushing for starts. Props kept the scrum in total command.

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