Rugby World Cup 2007
Scots crush brave Portugal
September 9, 2007
Ross Ford dives over the Portugal defence to score
© Getty Images
Scotland thrashed Portugal 56-10 in their Pool C clash at Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium in St Etienne. There are tougher challenges to come for the Scots, but coach Frank Hadden would have been content after seeing Rory Lamont (two), Scott Lawson, Rob Dewey, Dan Parks, Hugo Southwell, Kelly Brown and Ross Ford grab tries.
Parks booted five flawless conversions and Chris Paterson three more, while Portugal got on the scoresheet through a converted Pedro Carvalho try and a Duarte Pinto penalty. Frank Hadden rotated his starting line-up for Scotland's World Cup opener against tournament debutants Portugal at St Etienne's Stade Geoffrey-Guichard today.
Chief kicker Chris Paterson was named on the bench, with Dan Parks starting at fly-half, while the experienced Scott Murray returned to the second row to partner Nathan Hines. Centre Marcus Di Rollo replaced the injured Andrew Henderson (dead leg) and was part of a strong-looking back-line which included the Lamont brothers, Rory and Sean.
Captain and flanker Jason White would have been seeking to build up more match fitness after his long injury lay-off, while the front row of Allan Jacobsen, Scott Lawson and Euan Murray were all making their World Cup debuts. Portugal, a side comprised largely of amateur players, were without utility back Diogo Gama and lock Tiago Girao (both knee) for their first World Cup match.
With St Etienne having a large Portuguese community, the Iberians were not short of backing for what was expected to be a baptism of fire in a stadium nicknamed 'The Cauldron'. Lamont thought he had grabbed his hat-trick try when he breezed through a gap five yards out to ground under the sticks, but the score was ruled out for crossing. But it was not long before the 'Tartan Army' were celebrating that
The creator was Parks, who spotted Lawson unmarked on the left wing and weighted a superb cross-field kick to perfection. The new Sale hooker still had a lot to do but he nailed the catch and dived over in the corner. The inspired Parks added the extras and it was 21-0.
After 24 minutes on the back foot, Portugal finally enjoyed some ball and they duly went on to score what was their first World Cup try. Pedro Carvalho was the hero, running onto a crash-ball from Duarte Pinto and burrowing over from five yards. The try received the loudest ovation of the game thus far, and Pinto had no problem with the conversion.
But Scotland immediately bounced back, Allister Hogg tapping a chipped Parks restart down to Rob Dewey, who ran in unchallenged from 30 yards. The defending was fairly awful from the Portuguese. Prop Jacobsen went off injured in the 36th minute with a worrying-looking injury, and was replaced by Gavin Kerr.
In the dying act of the half, TV replays adjudged Scott Murray to have knocked on when the lock stretched out to ground for a try after a short burst, but Scotland would have been happy with their first 40. With flanker Joao Uva having been sin-binned just before the break, Portugal opened the second half with 14 men.
But they almost managed to close the deficit to 11 points when Carvalho intercepted a long cut-out pass from Parks and streaked in under the posts from 70 metres. The winger's celebrations were short-lived however, referee Steve Walsh adjudging the Portuguese defence to have been offside.
The Scots would have been unhappy with their sloppy start to the second half, which was in stark contrast to the first. There were a number of handling errors from Hadden's men, and the Portuguese were noticeably growing in confidence.
But calm was eventually restored in the 56th minute when Parks cruised in unchallenged for the fifth try after a series of assaults on the Portuguese line. The fly-half converted to make it 15 points for the game and was then replaced by Chris Paterson.
On the hour, substitute Hugo Southwell popped up on the shoulder of Simon Webster to finish off in the left corner, and Scotland had quickly rediscovered their poise heading into the final quarter. A rolling maul in the 65th minute was held up over the line as Scotland neared the half-century mark. Replacement Kelly Brown was next to score, the flanker feeding off a neat pop-up pass from Rory Lamont to glide over. Paterson - like he had done after Southwell's try - converted.
And the 50-point barrier was crossed when another replacement, hooker Ross Ford, bulldozed over after a counter-attack. Paterson's third conversion completed a decent evening's work for the Scots.
Scotland (28) 54
Portugal (10) 10
Scotland: R Lamont; S Lamont, Di Rollo, Dewey, S Webster; Parks, Blair; Jacobsen, Lawson, E Murray, Hines, S Murray, White (capt), Hogg, Taylor.
Replacements: Ford, Kerr, MacLeod, Brown, R Lawson, Paterson, Southwell.
Portugal: P Leal; D Mateus, F Sousa, D Mateus, P Carvalho; D Pinto, J Pinto; R Cordeiro, J Ferreira, R Spachuck, G Uva, D Penalva, J Somoza, J Uva, V Vuva.
Replacements: J Mure, J Correia, 18 P Murinello, D Coutinho, L Pissarra, P Cabral, M Portela.