Scotland 44-38 Samoa: Stuart McInally praises Darryl Marfo display
Stuart McInally says front-row partner Darryl Marfo dispelled any doubts about his ability to step up to Test level with a solid display against Samoa.
Scotland's front row held up well in a 44-38 win despite missing a host of first choice players to injury.
Marfo started the term as fourth-choice loosehead prop at Edinburgh, but broke into the national team due to injuries.
"Darryl played really well on his first cap and I'm pleased we managed to get a win for him," McInally said.
"I felt we did well but didn't get the benefit of the good work we were doing in the scrum.
"In the first one we were going forward and I heard the whistle and looked up thinking "great start" and he's [penalised] us, so I was frustrated that we didn't get a better foothold in the scrum. But we had two or three on their line where they kept taking it down and that allowed us to go to the corner and score."
McInally took his chance in the absence of Edinburgh club-mate Ross Ford and Glasgow's Fraser Brown, both ruled out of the autumn series through injury, scoring his first and second international tries against the Samoans.
The flanker-turned-hooker admits he has had to be patient while waiting for his chance.
"The last couple of years I've just tried to work hard and if I get an opportunity try to make the most of it," said McInally, who won his 10th cap and made his fourth Test start.
''I don't like putting too much pressure on myself. I did that a lot when I was younger, trying to play so well every week for Edinburgh to try to get to play for Scotland and it didn't do me any favours, so now I'm just trying to live in the moment a bit more and actually enjoy playing for Scotland without putting too much pressure on myself, and it went well today.
"Ross was in and about yesterday and I spoke to him and he texted me this morning with positive advice. We have a good relationship and I can rely on him to be there when I need any help. I owe him a lot and all the hookers at Edinburgh, Neil Cochrane as well, because they have worked tirelessly with me over the last four years. I owe a lot to them."
McInally looks certain to start next weekend against world champions New Zealand, and knows the sloppy defending which allowed Samoa to run in five tries will have to improve dramatically if the Scots are to even compete with the All Blacks.
"When we were 32-10 up, there was a bit of breathing space but it was a concern how quickly they were responding to our tries," he said.
"We just seemed to get a bit of breathing space and then they hit straight back, so in a way we're disappointed but it's also maybe better than the game going perfectly because it means we won't get ahead of ourselves for next week.
"New Zealand are a quality team who like a high ball-in-play time. They've got a lot of really good individuals and work incredibly well as a team.
"They have a really good scrum, which I think is underrated, and that's something I'm really looking forward to - challenging myself against the best team in the world. If I get selected for that it will be right up there as one of the highest moments."