Rugby League World Cup: Scotland come from behind to beat the USA 22-8
Last Updated: 08/11/13 10:21am
Scotland came from 8-0 down to score 22 unanswered points and inflict a first defeat of the World Cup on the Tomahawks to finish unbeaten in Group C.
But the battling Bravehearts face an agonising wait to see if the Salford success is enough to take them through to the quarter-finals.
Steve McCormack's men continued their remarkable campaign with a victory that was more emphatic than the scoreline of 22-8 suggests - but it was not enough to overhaul Italy's superior points difference and the Azzurri will clinch a last-eight duel with New Zealand if they beat Tonga at Halifax on Sunday.
It might have been different had the Scots not had five tries disallowed for a variety of reasons and they will be left to curse their misfortune if they are eventually eliminated with an undefeated record.
The Tomahawks, who were already guaranteed a quarter-final place, made the better start, with full-back Kristian Freed taking Joseph Paulo's pass and forcing his way over for the game's opening try after seven minutes.
The Scots dominated the rest of the first half but events appeared to conspire against them as they failed to register a point - centre Ben Hellewell got over the line after a determined burst but was unable to ground the ball and left-winger Alex Hurst had a try disallowed for a forward pass by Brough.
Hurst, in fact, could have had a hat-trick before half-time - he was twice held up over the line - and skipper Danny Brough had a try disallowed by video referee Henry Perenara for obstruction.
Having defended heroically, the Americans struck on the counter-attack on 22 minutes to double their score when centre Taylor Welch won the race to Craig Priestly's deft kick to the line.
That made it 8-0 and it could have been worse for the Scots had Paulo, who had received goalkicking tuition from former New Zealand Test winger Daryl Halligan, not been off target with both conversion attempts.
It was a similar story in the second half, with Scotland making most of the running, and their perseverance finally paid off with two tries in five minutes.
Second rower Brett Phillips charged onto Brough's delayed pass to cross for the first on 50 minutes and impressive full-back Matthew Russell cut a swathe through a fragmented American defence for his fourth try of the tournament.
Brough's first conversion attempt rebounded off the far upright but his second was on target to put his side into the lead for the first time.
The unfortunate Hurst was denied yet again, this time by the video referee, as he attempted to squeeze over at the corner and in a rare attack the Tomahawks missed a chance when winger Matt Peterson lost the ball in a promising position.
However, there was no denying Scotland prop Luke Douglas on 62 minutes when he stormed onto Brough's pass 10 metres out from the line.
And, as the Tomahawks lost their discipline towards the end, Scotland added a fourth try just before the end when Hurst collected Brough's long pass to finally get the try his performance so richly deserved and Brough kicked his third goal to wrap up the scoring.
2013 Rugby League World Cup
This years' Rugby League World Cup has been hailed as the greatest of all time by the organisers. Australia claimed their 10th title by beating New Zealand in the final in front of a record attendance.
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood is confident the sport will capitalise on the success of hosting the World Cup.
We take a look back at the highs and occasional low from probably the best World Cup to date.
- Hetherington wants more cups
- Wallace commits to Scotland
- Widdop left gutted by defeat
- Tomkins devastated by defeat
- Burgess defends brother George
- Johnson expresses relief
- Kangaroos leap into final
- Sheens tribute to Civoniceva
- Australia v Fiji: Teams
- Burgess out to deny Williams
- Aussies wary of physical Fiji
- Foran highlights main threats
- Two video refs for World Cup
- Civoniceva gets Wembley buzz
- Fiji too strong for Samoa
- England disappoint McNamara
- England stroll into semis
- Sheens retains Slater hope
- Australia put USA to the sword
- Samoa v Fiji: Teams
- Williams injury played down
- Kiwis stroll into semis
- Sheens: Slater has learned
- Brough set for toughest test
- Scots ready for biggest task
- Kiwis wary of Henderson
- Farah dropped for US clash