Greece: (16) 24
Tries: Zampetides, Tuliatu, Mamouzelos, Robinson Goals: Meads (4)
Scotland: (18) 42
Tries: Brierley, McLelland (2), Kavanagh (2), Scott, Oakes, Douglas Goals: Brierley (2), Thomas (2), Douglas
Scotland claimed their place in the twenty-twenty one world cup but were made to fight hard for their place after a great performance from the Greek side on a cold wet night in London.
Scottish coach Nathan Graham was a happy but relieved man after the final hooter
It was a very tough game for us tonight and again we got into an early lead and then we got a bit scrappy and gave the ball away a couple of times and also a couple of penalties and they got near our line and scored a couple of quick tries.
They showed some good skill against us tonight and I think some of our guys might have thought we were going to have a similar outcome to last week but they moved the ball well and gave us a thorough work out and in the end I think our older heads pulled us through and it is great to qualify.
Luke Douglas announced his retirement before the game and Graham paid tribute to him calling him a great leader at the front and nearly brought him off near the end of the game but he was there to score the final try of the night and he also converted his own try as the final hooter sounded.
Ryan Brierley put the Scots on the board in only the second minute when he scored under the posts after some good build up play by Callum McLelland and Brierley converted his own try and there were shades of last week’s demolition of Serbia but it didn’t turn out to be the case but they did increase their lead seven minutes later when McLelland was obstructed near the line and from the penalty awarded by James Child they took a quick play the ball and a good passing movement saw McLelland dive over in the left corner but Brierley missed the conversion. Ben Kavanagh then stretched the lead for Scotland when he finished off a good passing movement down the left but again Brierley was wayward with his conversion attempt.
Scotland blew a couple of good attacks before Greece who were getting more and more into the game scored their first try in the twenty-fourth minute when some good build up play by Chaise Robinson as centre Mitch Zampetides crash over on the right injuring himself in the act of scoring but Jordan Meads could not convert. Greece scored again three minutes later when a swirling high kick was allowed to bounce by Will Oakes and Alex Walker was trapped in goal. From the goal line drop out more pressure on the line and hooker Peter Mamouzelelos sent out a lovely pass for London Skolars player Rob Tuliatu to go over by the posts and Meads converted to bring his side within four points.
Dave Scott stretched the Scots lead nine minutes from the break when he finished off a good move but again no conversion from Brierley but Greece fought back again in the final second of the half when Terry Constantinou set up a try for Mamouzelelos who darted over from acting half back and Meads converted as the half time hooter sounded to leave them within two points of the visitors.
Greece made the best possible start in the second half when Meads was on the attack near the line but he was hit high by Kieran Moran and he was dispatched to the sin bin and the scrum half dusted himself down and added the penalty goal to level the scores. McLelland responded quickly with a try after some good play by Oscar Thomas and Brierley landed the conversion from in front of the posts to give his side a six point advantage.
Greece then continued to lay siege on the Scotland line and the defence was working overtime with both Grigoris Koutsimporgiogos and Nick Mougios both being held up over the line before Jake Kambos broke through to score and Meads converted again to level the scores again. It looked like Greece were going to go ahead for the first time on sixty four minutes but some great defence from Matt Hogg managed to hold up Mamouzelelos.
Scotland again put pressure on the Greek line three minutes later and a lovely floated pass to the left from Thomas sent Oakes over in the left corner but Brierley missed the conversion yet again and from the restart they went down field again and another good pass on the last tackle from Thomas sent Kavanagh in for his second and Thomas took over the kicking from Brierley and he added the conversion and with five minutes left Thomas added a penalty for holding down ten metres out.
The Greek defence was under pressure right to the end and with just seconds left Douglas crashed over by the side of the posts for his final career try and he also added the conversion as the final hooter sounded.
Terry Constantinou, John Mitsias, Greg Koutsimporgiogos, Mitchell Zampetides, Nick Mougios, Chaise Robinson, Jordan Meads, Stefano Totidis, Peter Mamouzelos, Robert Tuliatu, Sebastian Sell, Jake Kambos, Billy Magoulias
Interchange: Kosta Katsidonis, Stefanos Bastas, Jake Vrahnos, Theodoris Nianiakas
Alex Walker, Matt Hogg, Davey Dixon, David Scott, Will Oakes, Callum Mclelland, Ryan Brierley, Luke Douglas, Oscar Thomas, Sam Luckley, Nick Glohe, Ben Kavanagh, Dale Ferguson
Interchange: Dan Turland, Joe Mclean, Kieran Moran, Liam Faughlin
Article: Ian Rigg, New River Stadium Friday
Photo: Neville Wright