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Scotland keep getting better with encouraging display against Tonga

Scotland 37 Tonga 12

By Phil Blanche

Scotland rounded of 2014 with another hugely encouraging display as they swept five tries past Tonga in a 37-12 win at Kilmarnock FC's Rugby Park.

The Pacific Islanders had ended Andy Robinson's reign as Dark Blues boss in 2012 with a shock win at Pittodrie but there was never any chance of that happening as Vern Cotter's troops ruthlessly exposed the visitors.

The first ever major Test match to be played on a plastic pitch saw Blair Cowan, Stuart Hogg, Alex Dunbar, Geoff Cross and Tommy Seymour - as well as 12 points from the boot of skipper Greig Laidlaw - set up the Scots for the crucial year ahead that starts with the RBS 6 Nations in February and ends with the World Cup to be staged in England.

The Tongans started brightly but the best they could muster was four first-half penalties from fly-half Latiume Fosita.

For the Scots, this was a chance to put the seal on what has been a highly satisfactory Autumn series. After putting five tries past Argentina and bravely battling against New Zealand, Cotter wanted another big performance to set his team up for the challenges that lie ahead - and that is exactly what he got

The majority of the Scots had sampled action on a synthetic surface before thanks to visits to Pro12 outfit Cardiff's Arms Park.

In front of a 16,000-strong crowd, Tonga found themselves ahead thanks to Fosita's first penalty but then a man down as Nili Latu saw yellow for illegally stopping a maul allowing the Scots to take control and go on to win.

With 12 huge months to come next year, they will need to keep that confident strut up.

Belfast Telegraph


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