Scotland’s summer series kicked off with an impressive 48-10 victory over Canada as they ran in seven tries at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
Gregor Townsend’s men displayed the quality and potential of the squad and he will take a number of positives from the performance.
Strength in depth Scotland’s bench made a significant impact on the game, with replacement hooker George Turner scoring a hat-trick of tries after coming on for Fraser Brown half an hour in.
Lewis Carmichael also came off the bench and scored on his debut after taking a great inside line to race clear for the final try, adding the cherry on top.
Another who influenced the game after coming on was prop Murray McCallum, who made a crunching tackle on the half-way line to stop a Canada attack and win a penalty, from which he created a great opportunity to score.
Promising future stars With the perfect chance to blood some fresh faces, Townsend gave debuts to four new players and they all stood up to the challenge.
Along with Carmichael, Adam Hastings, 21, Jamie Ritchie, 21, and James Lang, 23, all made their maiden appearances in a Scottish jersey and displayed exciting flashes that will please their head coach.
Another youngster who impressed was 22-year-old Magnus Bradbury, who joined his Edinburgh teammate Ritchie in the back row and scored a great try from close range before setting up Carmichael.
Blair Kinghorn won his third cap after making his debut in the NatWest 6 Nations earlier this year and continued his fine form, knocking three conversions over and almost bagging a try himself but was held up on the line.
It was a fairly inexperienced Scotland side that managed the comfortable triumph, with only 177 combined caps in the starting XV, but they will definitely take confidence from the match and proved that the future of Scottish rugby is bright.
Mighty muscle Four of Scotland’s scores came through mauls in Edmonton, demonstrating the power of their pack through the strength of the drive up front.
The first of those came from almost 15 metres out as they pushed the Canadians back to their line, with the following score almost identical, and Scotland stuck to the successful formula to touch down twice more in the same way.
They were also dominant and controlled in the scrum, which provided the perfect platform for the backs to light up the field with some well-worked moves.
In the tackle, the Scots secured the ball well and were turning the ball over all game long, which proved too much for the Canadians to handle.
Sam’s the man Having not featured for Scotland since the 2016 NatWest 6 Nations, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne was given another shot by Townsend following an eye-catching season at Edinburgh.
The scrum-half only played 50 minutes but it was a performance that justified his inclusion as he kicked three conversions and a penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking.
But it was the control the 24-year-old gave to the Scottish team that stood out, instructing them when to hold onto it up front and when to release the backs.
Looking to start against the United States in Houston next week, Hidalgo-Clyne also displayed his quality going forward with some deft hands to set up Ruaridh Jackson’s try.
Dogged defence Not only did the Scottish demonstrate their power in attack, but the defence stood strong to keep out Canada again and again.
The hosts were behind throughout, with their only score coming from a penalty try after Jackson was deemed to have deliberately knocked on, but apart from that Scotland’s defence was well organised.
Captain Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Ritchie made 28 tackles between them and didn’t miss a single one, epitomising the work rate of the pack and indeed the whole squad to see out the victory.
Overall, it was a job well done from the Scots, who will hope to continue their success in the contest with the USA and Argentina the following week.