Ladbrokes Four Nations
New Zealand (6) 18
Tries: Fusitu’a 2, Beale 2 Goals: Luke
Scotland (4) 18
Tries: Tierney, Hellewell, Aitken Goals: Brough 3
Captain Danny Brough converted Euan Aitken’s last-gasp try to earn Scotland a sensational 18-18 draw with New Zealand in Workington.
Scotland led 12-10 with six minutes to go but Gerard Beale scored two tries for the Four Nations champions.
Aitken responded with the try of the match and then Brough kicked the extras on a wet night in Cumbria.
The result means that England will take on Australia in the final if they beat or draw with the Kangaroos on Sunday.
“I’m as proud as anything,” said Scotland coach Steve McCormack.
“Not only that never-say-die attitude from our lads but just the manner in which we got that result.
“We’re also a bit disappointed that we didn’t win. The players were sensational. We’ve played against the world’s best team tonight with a young team.”
Brough, who equalled Andrew Henderson’s appearance record with his 23rd cap, needed pain-killing injections before and during the match.
“I probably shouldn’t have played,” he said. “I can’t put my heel down now. But it was worth it with the effort the boys put in.”
New Zealand were clear favourites to beat Scotland, who had been thumped by both Australia and England in their first two games.
But McCormack’s side started brightly and, helped by a string of early penalties, played much of the opening 20 minutes in the opposition’s half.
The star-studded Kiwis took the lead when right winger David Fusitu’a took an offload from second rower Tohu Harris to score a try on his debut, which Isaac Luke converted to make it 6-0.
Wigan winger Lewis Tierney responded for Scotland three minutes later, chasing Lachlan Coote’s grubber kick for his first international try.
Playing against the wind and rain in the second half, New Zealand extended their lead when Fusitu’a crossed for his second try.
But Scotland hit back again, with Ben Hellewell finishing off a fine move after Tierney’s scamper down the right.
Brough’s conversion tied the scores at 10-10 and he then kicked a penalty to put them ahead with six minutes remaining.
Beale’s tries, which largely came as a result of the sublime handling skills of half-back Shaun Johnson, looked to have won the game for New Zealand.
Crucially both conversions were missed – and Scotland hit back to earn a point.
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