venue: Salford City Stadium, Salford
7th November 2013
Full Match Report
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. McCormack's men were out of luck even before kick-off when they lost veteran hooker Ben Fisher in the warm-up with a calf injury that effectively brought his career to a tearful end.
It was a major blow for the Scots, having lost first-choice number nine Ian Henderson with a knee injury in the 30-30 draw with Italy, but Danny Addy demonstrated his versatility by slotting as a useful back-up dummy half.
The Tomahawks, who were already guaranteed a quarter-final place, were also forced into a late change after losing forward Les Soloai with a knee injury - but they made the best 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.
Undeterred, the Scots went on to dominate 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.
Russell; Hurst, Hellewell, Addy, Scott; Brough, Wallace; Walker, A. Henderson, Douglas, Phillips, Ferguson, Kavanagh, Barlow, Szostak, Stringer, Wilkes
Freed; Faraimo, Welch, Garvey, Petersen; Paulo, Priestly; Offerdahl, Samoa, Pettybourne, Newton, Shipway, Howard, Marando, Hifo, Luani, Lavulo.