Scotland had never lost to Pacific Island opposition at a Rugby World Cup, but Samoa gave them an almighty scare in the 2015 tournament in a match that can be seen again in full this Sunday via our live streaming service.
Needing a victory to guarantee themselves of second place behind South Africa in Pool B and qualification for the quarter-finals, Scotland found themselves trailing 10-3 with just 10 minutes gone but they went on to win a hugely entertaining game 36-33.
Samoa had named the three Pisi brothers in their match-day 23, George and Tusi starting with Ken on the bench, and it was Tusi who scored the first of Samoa’s four tries.
Ma'atulimanu Leiataua and Rey Lee-Lo also crossed in a thrilling first half but Scotland were only three points in arrears at the break, at 26-23, thanks to tries from Tommy Seymour and John Hardie and the unerring boot of Greig Laidlaw, their captain.
In what was the second-highest scoring match of the tournament, Laidlaw continued to punish Samoan ill-discipline in the second half from the kicking tee.
Laidlaw leads from the front
With five penalties and two conversions already to his name, Laidlaw then sealed victory seven minutes from time by converting his own try to take his tally in the match to 26 points, a personal best for Scotland.
Motu Matu’u gave Scotland a late scare with Samoa’s fourth try but the Scots held on, and the majority of the 51,982 crowd inside St James’ Park in Newcastle could breathe a sigh of relief.
“I’m really proud of the boys and the way they played, they were down at half-time but showed the character and spirit to come back,” said Vern Cotter, Scotland’s head coach. “It showed just how much it means to them and I’m really happy for the group as they worked so hard to get there."
While Scotland went on to lose another thrilling game in the quarter-finals against Australia, Samoa crashed out early and had to ultimately go down the regional qualification route to confirm their place at Japan 2019.