HOUSTON (AP) Blair Kinghorn missed his attempted conversion of Dougie Fyfe’s injury time try, allowing the United States to hang on for its first-ever win over Scotland, 30-29 in a thrilling rugby test on Saturday.
The United States had rallied from 21-6 down in the first half and 24-13 at halftime to grab the lead for the first time with a try to flanker Hanco Germishuys in the 60th minute.
Eagles’ fans had their hearts in their mouths on a hot Houston night as the United States repelled wave after wave of Scotland attacks in the final quarter. There was hope the home team had secured victory as they led by six points when the fulltime siren sounded.
But Fyfe scored in injury time, giving Kinghorn the chance to win the match for a young Scotland team. The winger’s attempt from the near the sideline went wide of the posts and the Eagles held on, snapping Scotland’s run of five straight wins in tests between the nations.
Scotland had come into the test in confident mood after last weekend’s 48-10 win over Canada but aware the United States would pose much stiffer opposition after its run of wins over and Argentina XV, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Russia.
Coach Gregor Townsend made 12 changes to his lineup for the match, handing test debuts to George Horne and Matt Fagerson and giving Jamie Bhatti, Lewis Carmichael, Luke Hamilton, Adam Hastings and George Turner their first test starts while naming fullback Stuart Hogg captain for the first time, in his 61st test.
Scotland made a dream start when Kinghorn touched down after only two minutes and converted his own try for a 7-0 lead.
United States flyhalf A.J. MacGinty narrowed the lead with a penalty before Scotland surged further ahead with a penalty try. Horne was denied a try on debut by a high tackle by Eagles’ No. 8 Samu Manoa, who was sent to the sin-bin and Scotland led 14-3.
After another MacGinty penalty, Scotland hooker George Turner scored a try – his fourth in his last two tests after a hattrick against Canada – which gave his team a 21-6 lead.
Taufete’e’s first try immediately before halftime kept the United States in the match at 24-13 and the hooker scored again to make it 24-20 at the start of the second spel.
The United States hit the front for the first time, 30-24, with Germishuys’ try with 20 minutes to go. After an exchange of kicks, MacGinty made a break and linked with the flanker who scored.
The United States found itself mainly on defense through the last quarter but kept Scotland at bay until Fyfe dived over out wide.
There was elation when Kinghorn’s kick faded wide of the posts, giving the United States its first ever win over a Tier One nation – rugby’s major powers. The win took 94 years to achieve but comes a year out from the next Rugby World Cup in Japan in which the United States are drawn in the same tough pool as England, France, Argentina and Tonga.