Credit: Ian Rutherford/PA

Alexandra Bullard

All eyes turn to Japan showdown after comprehensive win for the Scots.

As if the 34-0 victory over Samoa wasn’t enough, the Scotland squad returned to boost our World Cup hopes that should perhaps be soundtracked by Scotland the Brave. The boys in blue got the job done once again with minimum fuss, maximum effort, and scored nine unanswered tries along the way against Russia in Shizuoka. In contrast, Russia end their World Cup adventure with four losses and with no points added to the board in their final game. 

Following on from their crucial first victory of the tournament, Scotland needed another win in order to keep their quarter-final hopes alive. As the match went underway, the Scots struck first with Adam Hastings touching down after 13 minutes and then for a second try swiftly later on. It was not long before his teammate George Horne had his turn for the team’s third score, and later produced a fourth try after a brilliant break from winger Darcey Graham. Russia, on the other hand, showed some fighting spirit but were out-classed in virtually every aspect on the pitch. Before long, the Scots were leading comfortably with 21 points at the break.  

Scotland continued to turn the screw in the second half, with newcomer George Turner adding more points as well as Tommy Seymour crossing the line in his second World Cup. Horne looked as though he got his fourth try, but was denied his moment when referee Wayne Barnes called a forward pass from Magnus Bradbury. But did it matter? Perhaps not, as Scotland struck again and again with tries from John Barclay and Stuart McInally against a worn-out Russian opposition. With three minutes left on the clock, things could have gone worse for the beaten side had Seymour not delivered a forward-pass to Hastings and was thus was deprived of his hat-trick.

Gregor Townsend’s team now move on to their final pool match on Sunday against Japan in Yokohama. After upsetting the number two seed Ireland earlier in the tournament, the hosts look to be a dangerous opponent for the Scots. So, what do Scotland need to reach the last eight? Without a doubt, they need to defeat Japan, but also must do this with a four-try bonus point win and hope that Ireland succumb to Samoa. 

But now there is a new threat on the horizon. Typhoon Hagibis (aka Hurricane Haggis) could hit the south of Japan over the weekend and has already cancelled the face-off between England and France. Scotland must wait and hope until Sunday morning to find out if the Japan game will go ahead. Once again, Scotland’s continued involvement at the 2019 Rugby World Cup lies in the lap of the gods. If the confrontation is called off, the Scots will finish in third place and the World Cup dream will be over.

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