Scotland Under-18 28,

Japan Schools 23

SATURDAY afternoon at Murrayfield was a delight, not just because of a

Scottish victory that denied the Japan Schools a clean sweep on tour.

The rugby was just as much a joy despite the Scottish set-piece


Eight tries were scored, divided equally between the young Scots and

the Japan Schools' tourists, and the making of most of them, even those

with more than a touch of individualism, was a credit to the coaches'

teaching ability and the players' learning capacity. The plaudits in the

winners' background were due

to Hugh Campbell and Euan Kennedy.

Each side, it seemed, was the catalyst for the other. Inhibitions, if

any, were secondary to free expression in an exhilarating, exciting


A Scottish try after only two minutes set the tone with its sustained

build-up. Mark McKenzie and Darren Burns attacked the narrow side of a

ruck, Steve McDonald swooped for an excellent pick-up on the run to

procure another ruck, and David Hamilton's break let Derek Bain put

McKenzie over.

It was a swift statement by the Scots that they had no respect for the

visitors' 41 tries in their five earlier victories, and thereafter the

lead changed hands four times. The Japanese led 10-6 at the interval,

eager to finish the tour with six wins, but with 13 minutes left the

Scots had overturned that deficit into a six-point lead of their own.

To achieve that margin and their ultimate win the home team put their

set-piece troubles behind them. The Scots' lineout game had no match for

Masatake Matsumoto's jump timing on Takayuki Fuji's shorter throw-ins,

and Graeme Burns had to work spritely to clear an often disrupted


Burns revelled in defensive chores, and McKenzie did so even more. The

stand-off had an insatiable appetite for the tackle, and with McDonald a

key figure beside the breakaway forwards, the Scots were more capable in

ruck, maul and drive. The tourists, however, were annoyingly adept at

infiltration, as when they stole from an Andrew Ness surge and countered

with Yukio Motoki's try that cut the Scots back to 25-23 with 11 minutes


Bain bracketed that try with two penalty goals, and with three

second-half conversions as well, he scored from five out of six kicks.

It was a profitable afternoon for the Melrose lad, who had not been in

the original selection. Noriyuki Owashi had two conversions and a

penalty goal from seven goal attempts.

Japan's first-half tries were contrasting types. Owashi's double-miss

pass to the intruding Hisashige Yamamoto let Tenunori Masuho respond to

McKenzie's opening score, and after Peter Stanger and Masuho had each

been denied on his left wing Matsumoto peeled off Yasuhide Arai's

lineout tapdown to draw the pack in behind on a bulldozing drive over

the line. Bobby Clark, nodding vigorously, awarded the try to Matsumoto

under the pile-up.

Owashi converted the second, but three minutes into the second half

the Scots were level again from an incredible solo try by Alistair

Graham. The No.8 ran all the way for 60 metres: twice he might have

passed, but each time a broken tackle encourged him to cruise on as gaps

opened before him.

Owashi replied with a penalty goal, Kenneth Logan restored the Scots'

lead off McKenzie's double-miss pass, Mitsuo Fukatsu exploited the blind

side of a ruck, and Owashi's conversion took Japan to 19-16. But the

Scots then struck twice in three minutes.

When Burns kicked up the blind side of a ruck fully 35 metres out Ness

pounced a fraction before anyone else. Bain converted the captain's try,

and after another Burns punt, a cruel garryowen that deceived Yamamoto,

the accurate Bain boot kicked the first of his penalty goals. At 25-19

the Scots were not to be denied despite Motoki's try.

Scotland Under-18 -- K Logan (Stirling County); S S Littlewood


D C Bain (Melrose), D R Hamilton (Dunfermline), P J Stanger (Hawick);

M McKenzie (Stirling County), G G Burns (Stewart's Melville FP); S

McDonald (Kelso Harlequins), K R Allan (Melrose Colts), R B McNulty

(Trinity Academicals), D G Burns (Biggar), S J Campbell (West of

Scotland), A G Ness (Glasgow High/Kelvinside), captain, A J Graham

(Dundee HS FP), D K Forster (Jed Thistle).

Japan Schools -- H Yamamoto;

T Nakata, M Terao, Y Motoki, T Masuho (captain); N Owashi, M Fukatsu;

T Nakamichi, T Fuji, T Emori,

M Matsumoto, S Ueno, Y Takahashi,

Y Arai, T Itoh. Replacements -- T Tsuji for Arai (34 minutes), A

Yoshida for Motoki (65).

Referee -- R S Clark (Stewart's Melville FP).