George Turner scores rare hat-trick as Scotland ease past Canada

10 Jun

A rare hat-trick for Scotland’s replacement hooker George Turner, the first by any Scotland player in 11 years, led the way as his team eased past Canada 48-10 in the first match of their summer tour.

All three of his tries came at the back of mauls, which turned out to be a true killer weapon for the Scots who controlled the game through their forward strength before cutting loose in the final minutes to finish with seven tries.

Gregor Townsend’s side also play the US and Argentina on their summer tour

It may have been a new-look Scotland side with two new caps plus 10 players with 10 caps or fewer, but it did not take them long to stamp their authority on the game, new cap James Lang almost going over in the second minute. They had a penalty coming anyway and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne duly added the points.

Lang was soon at it again, throwing a howler of a pass but then recovering the ball and using the disruption to throw the ball over the Canada defence for Byron McGuigan, the wing to score his third Scotland try in his fourth match.

Canada edged their way back into the game with a penalty from Shane O’Leary, the fly half, on their first visit to Scotland territory as the game settled into a bit of a stalemate. Scotland did think they had managed their second try when Ruaridh Jackson broke down the blind side but was ruled to have touched down short of the line and lost control of the ball as he rolled it onto the whitewash.

Even against 14 men with Canada prop Noah Barker in the sin bin for an off-the-ball tackle on Allan Dell, has opposite number in the front row, the Scots were struggling to find gaps even though they were dominating in terms of territory and possession.

They did eventually increase their lead when a rolling maul took the ball almost to the line and Jackson slipped into a huge gap round the blindside with Hidalgo-Clyne landing the conversion. That was it for the half, which ended with Scotland messing up a line out on the home line and made up for it with when they got the same move right in the opening move of the second half, George Turner, the replacement hooker, the one with ball.

Canada hit back with their best spell of the game, Phil Mack, the scrum half, being held up over the line. The pressure continued until Jackson was ruled to have deliberately knocked on a potential scoring pass to DTH van der Merwe, the Canada wing and captain. He got a spell in the sin bin and Canada got a penalty try.

There was a notable moment when Adam Hastings, son of Scotland and Lions captain Gavin, came on early in the second half to win his first cap.

Scotland continued to pressure Canada and Blair Kinghorn had come close before Magnus Bradbury eventually finished the attack with his first Test try. They had another potential try chalked off on a television review, this time for Murray McCallum, the prop, but soon made up for it when Turner was mauled over the line and a few minutes later he repeated the feat to complete his hat-trick.

Lewis Carmichael, the replacement lock, added the final try to celebrate his first cap as Scotland completed their rout just short of the 50-point mark.