|Summer tour: Canada v Scotland|
|Canada (3) 10|
|Try: Penalty try Pen: O’Leary|
|Scotland (15) 48|
|Tries: McGuigan, Jackson, Turner 3, Bradbury, Carmichael Cons: Hidalgo-Clyne 3, Kinghorn 3 Pen: Hidalgo-Clyne|
George Turner scored a hat-trick of tries as Scotland opened their summer tour with victory over Canada.
Byron McGuigan and Ruaridh Jackson touched down in the first half.
Turner went over early in the second period and Adam Hastings made his Scotland debut off the bench before Canada got a penalty try.
Magnus Bradbury’s score was followed by two more from Turner and Lewis Carmichael ran through for the final try late on.
The Scots play the United States in Houston next Sunday before finishing their tour against Argentina in Resistencia the following Saturday.
The Commonwealth Stadium, home of the Edmonton Eskimos football team, has had more thunderous evenings. The sparse crowd in the 60,000-seat stadium lent the occasion a slightly odd air, but Scotland had a job to do, atmosphere or no atmosphere. This was not a marquee Test match, but it was an important one for Gregor Townsend in his mission to deepen his player pool.
It began promisingly with Scotland asking questions of Canada’s questions from the get-go and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne popping over a penalty when that defence got stressed. Those three points where the first of the scrum-half’s international career.
And it got better soon after when James Lang on his debut re-gathered his own loose pass and flung it wide to McGuigan, who made light work of finishing it off in the left corner. Hidalgo-Clyne missed the conversion, but the early signs were good.
Canada had won only four of their previous 20 Tests and had lost to Uruguay three times, USA twice and Brazil once. USA, Fiji and Georgia all put 50 points on them in the last year. That’s the kind of territory you thought Scotland were heading for once McGuigan scored.
The points mountain would come later but for a spell the game went flat and Scotland’s error count mounted. Shane O’Leary made it 8-3 with the boot. Canada lost their loosehead, Noah Barker, to the bin for a dangerous tackle on Allan Dell, targeting his right leg, but Scotland went pointless in those 10 minutes. Jackson thought he had scored but was done for a double movement.
Scotland’s performance called out for a more direct approach, a tighter, forward-dominated effort that drove through the guts of the Canadians. What was obvious from early on was the effectiveness of their maul – and that was how Scotland kicked on to win this comfortably. They tormented the Canadians from close range.
Just after the half-hour, Canada spilled it in a daft exit play from their own 22. Scotland got a lineout and mauled it 15m. Turner, on for the unlucky Fraser Brown who exited with a rib injury, fed Hidalgo-Clyne who shipped it on to Jackson. Simple. The scrum-half added the conversion for a 15-3 lead.
Two minutes after the break, another lineout maul and another try for the Scots, Turner getting on the end it of this time. Hidalgo-Clyne’s conversion gave Scotland the belief to motor on and build their margin.
The opposite happened. Hastings – son of former Scotland captain Gavin – came on and played nicely. Scotland were pushed back and pinned inside their own 22 in the early minutes of his involvement, though. Jackson was done for a deliberate knock on as Canada tried to exploit space out wide and a penalty try was given, along with a yellow card for the fly-half.
At 22-10, Scotland needed a nudge to wake themselves up. It came when Ben Toolis gobbled up a loose ball and carried his team forward. Blair Kinghorn was in support and took Scotland to the line. When it came back out, the excellent Dave Denton carried effectively yet again and the space opened up for Bradbury to score his first try for Scotland.
Kinghorn converted to make it a 19-point game and that stretched out to 24 points when another devastating Scottish maul rolled straight and true and across the Canadian line. Once again it was Turner on the end of it.
The hooker had the night of his life behind that maul. It was a wrecking ball weapon for the Scots and they poured on the misery when returning to Canada’s 22 and launching another driven maul. Turner – who else? – got the touchdown for his hat-trick, the first for a Scot since Ally Hogg got three against Romania in 2007.
Kinghorn make it 41-10 with the conversion and Carmichael, on his debut, raced away off a pass from Bradbury to get Scotland’s seventh of the night. Kinghorn’s extras made it a 48-10. A pleasing second half and a positive beginning to their summer trek.
Canada: Parfrey, Hassler, Fraser, Blevins, Van der Merwe, O’Leary, Mack; Barker, Barkwill, Ilnicki, Ciulini, Olmstead, Rumball, Heaton, Campbell.
Replacements: Howard, Sears-Duru, Keith, Keys, Dobravsky, Ferguson, Davis, Sauder.
Scotland: Kinghorn, L Jones, Harris, Lang, McGuigan, Jackson, Hidalgo-Clyne; Dell, Brown, Berghan, Toolis, Gilchrist, Bradbury, Ritchie, Denton.
Replacements: Turner, Bhattie, McCallum, Hamilton, Price, Hastings, Bennett.