Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Beattie speaks up for Samoa

Johnnie Beattie has heaped praise on Samoa

Scotland forward Johnnie Beattie has hit back at the critics who say the Dark Blues took a backward step with their defeat to Samoa.

Scott Johnson's team opened the Quad Series in South Africa by losing to the Pacific Islanders for the first time in their history. The 27-17 defeat in Durban was seen as a major setback for the Scots after an encouraging display in the RBS 6 Nations which saw them finish third.

They followed up that Samoan defeat with a brave loss against the Springboks in Nelspruit but prevented a total whitewash by beating Italy 30-29 in the Pretoria third-place play-off, courtesy of Alasdair Strokosch's last-ditch try. But Beattie insists losing to the Samoans was not the embarrassing shock some have claimed, saying: "That's disrespectful to the Samoan side."

The Montpellier number eight added: "People don't respect that team the way they should. It's not often that Samoa get their best players together but we saw what they did to Wales last autumn when they beat them in Cardiff at the Millennium Stadium.

"When they do get all their guys together they are an absolutely frightening outfit. We saw by the way they played against us they are an incredible team. They have always got the kids - their player base is incredible. It's just that it's only certain times that they get them all together.

"I've played against guys like Census Johnstone in the Top 14 in France and with the boys like them together they are an altogether different proposition - a talented bunch."

Scotland blooded 10 debutantes during the three-match tour and Beattie insists that was more important than the two defeats the Dark Blues suffered in their summer tour of South Africa.

The 24-time capped forward said: "The main thing was to try and win the three games we had but we were also there to broaden our base of players and introduce some young kids into the squad. Individually, it was important to see how those boys got on.

"As Johnno said we were happier with our performance against South Africa but lost the game. We won against Italy but were disappointed with our performance.

"We got one victory in the end but it was more important to see how those guys got on. That was where the value of the tour was."

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