Error-ridden second half costs Scotland as USA take 30-29 win
A missed conversion saw the home side clinch the victory.
Scotland left Houston embarrassed as they became the first Tier One nation to lose to the USA.
They conceded two tries to Worcester hooker Joe Taufete’e and a gift score to flanker Hanco Germishuys to throw away a dominant first half with an error-ridden second.
They did give themselves a chance to win the game three minutes after the 80 minutes were up when Adam Hastings found the killer pass to put Dougie Fife, the replacement wing, in for their fourth try, but the touchline conversion proved to be too tricky for Blair Kinghorn.
This was THE moment.— USA Rugby (@USARugby) June 17, 2018
All that after the perfect start as new captain Stuart Hogg was given a tiny sliver of space on the outside of the American defence.
He needed no second invitation, slicing through and proving a perfect pass to Kinghorn on the wing for the opening try.
With the young wing converting, it was just the settler they were looking for.
Any idea that it was going to be an easy ride for the Scots was, however, quickly dismissed as the USA started to get their big forwards into the game, pummelling the Scots defence and forcing a string of penalties.
In the end, when they got an easy shot from in front of the posts AJ McGinty, the fly half took the points.
Scotland could have restored their seven point advantage from the kick off but Kinghorn was narrowly wide with a shot from the 10 metre line.
FULL-TIME | USA 30-29 Scotland— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) June 17, 2018
Scotland suffer their first defeat of Summer Tour to USA, and their first in history to the Eagles, who were impressive in the Houston heat tonight. #AsOne pic.twitter.com/C6pAimSIkB
It only delayed the Scotland score, however, as they set up camp in the home 22 until Peter Horne wriggled out of a tackle and found his brother George there to make it almost to the line.
At first it looked as though he had managed to touch the ball against a post for try but after lengthy review, the officials did not have a camera angle that showed one way or the other.
Instead referee Wayne Barnes ruled the tackle to stop him had been high and awarded a penalty try with Manu Samoa, the USA lock, being sent to the sin bin.
A superb solo break from McGinty, who plays for Sale Sharks in the English Premiership reminded the Scots that they still had work to do, though they did hit back with another try from a line out maul, George Turner, the hooker, providing the touch down, just as he had done three times the week before.
The Americans were not finished and when Scotland spilled the ball at the kick off they simply hammered at the line until eventually Taufete’e, the hooker, grabbed their first try, though Kinghorn opened a bit more daylight between the sides with a penalty on the stroke of half time.
They needed it, as the USA won a line out yards from the Scotland line, and again the visitors had no answer to the power of Taufete’e on the charge from the back of the maul, reaching out to ground the ball with two Scots clinging on.
McGinty converted and added a penalty and suddenly it was a one-point game.
Scotland rang the changes to freshen up the side and find a way into the match but it only got worse for them as an exchange of kicks ended with Matt Fagerson dropping the ball and McGinty swooping on it to put flanker Germishuys over for the go-ahead try.
Scotland came close to getting back in front with a solo break from Kinghorn to set up the position and Bennett, the replacement centre, going over but losing the ball as he tried to ground it.
It all set up the dramatic finale for Fife and Kinghorn and sent the American fans home happy as the Scots were left to regroup ahead of their game in Argentina next week.