How Harry Paterson stole the show in Scotland’s thumping win over Canada on a day of 10 debuts

11 tries for tourists

As experiments go this was rather a good one. Gregor Townsend capped 10 new players and still came away with a thumping 73-12 victory over

Canada.

There was much for the Scotland coach to be pleased about, not least the performances of the debutants, but it was Harry Paterson who really stood out. The full-back was excellent and it was easy to forget this was only his second Test appearance.

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He was lively and creative, particularly in the first half as the Scots recovered from a sticky start in Ottawa. Paterson had shown he was ready to step up to Test rugby when he made a shock Scotland debut against France in the Six Nations. He played very little rugby after that due to injury and was badly missed by Edinburgh in the season run-in. So this was an encouraging performance from the lightly raced 23-year-old in what was Scotland’s tour opener.

Tougher tests await and in truth Canada posed little threat on their plastic pitch. This was a record victory for Scotland in the fixture and ensured they retained the Douglas JL Horn Memorial Cup, the trophy that has been contested by the two teams since 2008. Townsend’s side ran in 11 tries with Sale Sharks team-mates Arron Reed and Gus Warr scoring two apiece on their debuts. There was also a double for Dylan Richardson (of the Durban-based Sharks) and single tries for Josh Bayliss, Paterson, Jamie Dobie, Stafford McDowall and Kyle Steyn. Ross Thompson, the starting stand-off, converted five of them, and his replacement, Ben Healy, knocked over four more.

Townsend picked five uncapped players in his starting XV, with Matt Currie, Max Williamson, Gregor Brown, Reed and Warr all showing up well. Five more new boys won first caps off the bench in what is likely to be the easiest match of the four-Test tour. The Scots will now head to Washington DC to play USA on Friday before travelling to South America to take on Chile and Uruguay.

This was Canada’s first home game in two years and they didn’t take long to give their supporters in TD Place something to cheer. They scored the game’s first try after seven minutes, captain Lucas Rumball rumbling over from a well executed lineout drive. The Canadian lineout had proved a useful weapon in the opening stages and they were happy to kick penalties to the corner, trusting their set-piece.

Sadly for the hosts this was as good as it got. Scotland shook off their torpor and plundered four tries in a fruitful 18-minute spell. Bayliss drew them level after fine work by Paterson who broke through before finding Currie whose pass inside gave the supporting No 8 a simple score.

Two-try Dylan Richardson
of Scotland tries to break free in the first half against Canada in Ottawa. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images for Scottish Rugby)Two-try Dylan Richardson
of Scotland tries to break free in the first half against Canada in Ottawa. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images for Scottish Rugby)
Two-try Dylan Richardson
of Scotland tries to break free in the first half against Canada in Ottawa. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images for Scottish Rugby)

Paterson, winning his second cap, was looking lively but had to leave the field briefly following a facial knock. Steyn stepped in to replace him but happily the full-back was able to return and he continued to impress.

The next two tries were scored by Richardson. Last capped as a flanker in 2021, the Sharks forward is now considered a hooker. He’s still handy in the loose and when Thompson found space in the midfield Richardson was on hand to finish things off.

Scotland’s backs were finding plenty of space to attack but the third try was all down to the forwards, Richardson being driven over from a textbook lineout and maul. Thompson had converted the first two tries but was off target this time.

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Reed, a nimble figure out wide, got married just before the tour and he kept the good times rolling with a debut try. Paterson ran hard to the corner before offloading to the grateful winger. Canada threatened briefly before the interval but Stafford McDowall stripped them of the ball in his own in-goal area and Scotland went in at the turn 24-5 ahead.

Scotland's Josh Bayliss, left, and Matt Currie, right, try to dislodge the ball from Canada's Conor Keys during the first half in Ottawa. (Photo by Canadian Press/Shutterstock)Scotland's Josh Bayliss, left, and Matt Currie, right, try to dislodge the ball from Canada's Conor Keys during the first half in Ottawa. (Photo by Canadian Press/Shutterstock)
Scotland's Josh Bayliss, left, and Matt Currie, right, try to dislodge the ball from Canada's Conor Keys during the first half in Ottawa. (Photo by Canadian Press/Shutterstock)

Reed wasn’t the only Sale player showing up well and scrum-half Warr weighed in with two tries in seven minutes early in the second half to further underline the Salford contribution. His first was a sniper’s score after Thompson had been stopped short; his second came after another good break from Paterson.

In between Canada scored a try of their own, Kyle Baillie being shoved over from close range. Peter Nelson converted but there wasn’t too much more for the home supporters to enjoy and Reed soon added Scotland’s seventh and his second following a long looped pass from Dobie, whose outing on the wing was proving useful.

The versatile Glasgow Warriors man played in Paterson shortly afterwards with another great spot, giving the full-back the try his performance deserved. That brought up the half-century for Scotland and Townsend continued to chop and change his XV, bringing on Nathan McBeth, Will Hurd, Ewan Johnson, Robbie Smith and Ross McCann for their debuts.

Dobie, now playing at scrum-half, got a try of his own soon after and McDowall then celebrated his first outing as Scotland co-captain by scoring his side’s tenth, with the home side looking increasingly ragged. Steyn had the final say, crossing for Scotland’s 11th try after smart work by Healy who converted.

Scorers: Canada: Tries: Rumball, Baillie. Cons: Nelson. Scotland: Tries: Bayliss, Richardson 2, Reed 2, Warr 2, Paterson, Dobie, McDowall, Steyn. Cons: Thompson 5, Healy 4.

Canada: C Coats; A Coe, M Richardson, B LeSage, N Benn; P Nelson, J Higgins; L Murray, A Quattrin, C Young, C Keys, K Baillie, M Flesch, L Rumball, S Vikilani. Replacements: J Mackail, D Sears-Duru, C Keith, J Stockwood, S Parry, B Gallagher, Talon McMullin, Takoda McMullin.

Scotland: H Paterson (K Steyn 11-20); J Dobie, M Currie (Steyn 64), S McDowall, A Reed; R Thompson (B Healy 57), G Warr (R McCann 64); R Sutherland (N McBeth 52), D Richardson, E Millar Mills (W Hurd 52), M Williamson (E Johnson 57), G Young, G Brown (M Fagerson 73), L Crosbie (R Smith 57), J Bayliss.

Referee: Adam Leal (England).

Attendance: 11,447

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