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Rugby | International Rugby

Homeboy Jackson delivers Scots at the last



Youngster Ruaridh Jackson emerged as the home-town hero as Scotland secured a dramatic 19-16 triumph over the brave Samoans at Pittodrie on Saturday.

The battlers from the South Seas had looked set to bring Andy Robinson's men down to earth in the wake of their stunning triumph over the world champion Springboks.

But subtitute Jackson snatched the glory with the last kick of an absorbing contest.

All the pressure was on the new boy as he lined up a penalty from a tricky angle - however the Aberdeen-born playmaker kept his cool in the arctic conditions to thump the ball between the sticks.

Robinson, who had somehow turned his side round from a 49-3 humbling by the All Blacks to beat the Springboks, breathed a sigh of relief after the final whistle.

"That was far too close for comfort - in fact we were very lucky to get the win," said the former England coach.

"Though I am happy to see us earn the victory, I do feel sorry for Samoa because they played extremely well.

"They were unlucky to lose in the circumstances."

Samoan skipper Mahonri Schwalger refused to blame the Jackson strike for yet another narrow defeat to follow those against Ireland and England.

"We had several chances to put more points on the board earlier in the second half but didn't take them," he said.

"I was very proud of our performance and I think we have shown again that we can compete strongly with the top international teams."

The fans were treated to the bizarre sight of the Scots appearing in tinfoil suits in an effort to retain body heat as they stood shoulder to shoulder while facing the Samoans' traditional war dance.

However, the Pacific aces produced a stirring and stubborn display to take the Scots to the wire.

Scotland made a rip-roaring start, confidently running a penalty in the danger zone.

The gamble didn't pay off, however only a minute later Dan Parks edged them in front with a crisp strike from a tricky angle.

But the Scots were handed a stinging wake-up call in the 10th minute as Samoa created a top-notch try.

Star centre Seilala Mapasua inflicted the initial damage with a charge down the right before wrongfooting the defence with a clever chip.

Geogre Pisi scooped it up and delivered the scoring pass to scrum-half Kahn Fotualii.

Paul Williams stepped up to land the awkward conversion - and drum it home to the Scots that they had a real game on their hands.

Their response was quick and clinical.

Winger Nikki Walker sneaked infield to latch on to a Parks feed and gleefully sprint over under the crossbar.

Parks added the extras - only to squander his next penalty chance from 30 metres after the Samoans were guilty of breaking up the scrum early.

He was soon back in the swing of it, landing a potshot from longer range as the visitors committed yet another rucking offence.

The Samoans came back into the picture in the approach to the break and Williams bucked up their confidence with a penalty.

Scotland made a hash of receiving the restart kick as Richie Gray and Richie Vernon left the ball to one another.

Tasesa Lavea sent a drop-goal bid wide, but referee Steve Walsh had already signalled a penalty and Williams levelled the scores.

The Scots hit back in positive style - but the jitters level rose when Parks sent his next effort sailing past the far post.

Parks replied to fire over a trademark dropped goal - edging Scotland back in front.

But within seconds the Samoans squared it again via the boot of Williams.

The Scots were then forced to soak up a long spell of pressure before eventually working their way back into enemy territory.

A wonderful run by Graeme Morrison put Samoa on the back foot - and then came Jackson's clincher.

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