Strong second-half showing secures three points for Scottish against Yorkshire Carnegie

London Scottish 26 Yorkshire Carnegie 22
London Scottish director of rugby Mike Friday praised his side’s character after overcoming a slow start to secure a bonus-point win at home to Yorkshire Carnegie today.

Peter Lydon’s brilliant second-half try was the catalyst for victory as Scottish secured the three points despite trailing 8-0 at the break after a try from Carnegie’s Pete Lucock.

Mark Bright, man of the match Chevvy Pennycook and substitute James Philips also touched down in the closing half as the hosts repelled the Leeds-based side despite tries from Harry Leonard and sub Josh Bainbridge.

The turnaround impressed Friday: “We’ve done remarkably well as a team to show the composure, resiliency and grittiness to go out there and get the bonus-point win, he said.

“We didn’t function in the first-half. We had a rethink at the break, regrouped and our execution in the second-half led to couple of great team tries which is pleasing.”

Carnegie, aided by a stiff breeze, had much the better of the opening exchanges with Leonard kicking them ahead in the opening minutes.

The away side looked much better than their league position of eight and despite ‘Flower of Scotland’ echoing around the Athletic Grounds Lucock went over on the stroke of half-time.

Scottish looked a different side after the break however and took no time in asserting themselves with captain Bright driving over after a powerful maul and Lydon duly converting.

Tommy McGee’s side responded instantly though and Scottish were rocked when Leonard scored after a barnstorming breakaway from No. 8 Jarad Williams leaving ahead 15-7.

Head Coach James Buckland emptied the bench and it had the desired effect with Lydon going over in the corner following great pack work and quick hands from Connor Braid.

Lydon converted, putting the minimum between the sides before a Pennycook try, following trojan work from subs Philips and Jamie Stevenson put the Exiles ahead for the first time in the final quarter, 24-15.

The bonus-point was secured when Philips scored their fourth try which Lydon converted and Scottish held on despite a last gasp converted try from Yorkshire’s Bainbridge.

Coming off a single-point defeat to Nottingham last Sunday, Buckland was happy to get back to winning ways and maintain their impressive run of home form, with only one defeat this season.

He said: “We’re working hard to stay in the top four. We slipped up last week but we have some momentum again and need to push on now.”

The impact of the replacements thrilled Friday and he believes the increasing competition for places and strength-in-depth within the squad will bear fruit.

He said: “Some boys had been relegated for things that had gone on in previous games but they’ve come out and given us a reaction and seized their chance.

“All seven of our substitutes added something to the team today and rugby is a 22-man game nowadays so you need to have a good squad to compete at the top level.”

Buckland was happy with the abrasiveness of their pack and the effective mauling, particularly in the second period, which Yorkshire struggled to deal with.

He said: “That’s what we’re about, we’re about squeezing teams and putting them under pressure. If teams don’t want to defend the maul we will use it to exploit weaknesses.

“We went back to what we’re good at and it’s no coincidence that when we got it right in the second half we put them under serious pressure.”

Scottish are home again next Friday night and Buckland believes his side must be totally focused on the challenge which the Cornish Pirates will present.

He said: “The tough games just keep on coming. We’re just going to have to dust ourselves down and get ready because they will be out for revenge.”

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