Scotland 34-0 Samoa Rugby World Cup Match Report
Scotland Reignite RWC Campaign with Maximum Points Against Samoa
Scotland sent a statement to their Pool A rivals with a resounding 34-0 bonus point victory over Samoa in humid Kobe. Two of their four tries were penalty scores as the Pacific Islanders failed to cope with the consistent pressure applied by a revitalised Scotland team hunting for their first scalp of Japan 2019.
The combined kicking prowess of scrum-half Greig Laidlaw from the tee and full-back Stuart Hogg from the hands played its part, but this vital win was down to a team effort. Remember that you can get the latest rugby betting tips for all the Rugby World Cup matches over at Bet UK’s online betting markets. If you are a fan of rugby and are looking forward to Premiership Rugby returning this month, then make sure to head over to Bet UK's Premiership Rugby betting tips, for pre season previews and weekly tips for the biggest matches. If you miss you pre-match bet be sure to take a look at our Live In Play Betting odds!
With three changes to the side that lost against Ireland in their opener, it was clear from the opening exchanges that this was a fired-up Scotland with a point to prove. In the second minute, a confident jump and take from full-back Stuart Hogg began a scintillating attack which supplied the quick ball to Darcy Graham. The pacy bleached-haired wing lost the ball – which began a succession of handling errors by both teams that threatened to make a mockery of the game.
It was the high humidity that appeared to be to blame for a slippery ball which regularly bounced around, went to ground, and popped up in unexpected places. Unforced errors by both teams became frequent, and forced errors became easier to enable.
Scotland’s forwards were showing real attacking intent, and Gregor Townsend’s side was deservedly first onto the scoresheet when Greig Laidlaw kicked a penalty. Minutes later, a Sean Maitland knock on immediately after making an interception spurned a potentially profitable opportunity.
Samoa full-back Tim Nanai-Williams, who was a dangerous running threat in their win over Russia, was successfully neutralised by Scotland, who did a good job of gaining and keeping territory. Off the back of a long driving maul, Graham should have had a golden opportunity to dash to the line, but a poorly executed pass scuppered the chance.
Scotland Prize an Opening
Whether it was a conscious decision to use the boot more given the conditions, or an opportunistic instinct, Scotland used their kicking excellently to apply pressure on Samoa. An outstanding crossfield punt from Finn Russell was brilliantly taken by wing Sean Maitland on the opposite flank. He deserved credit for not allowing the ball to misbehave as made his way over the line for Scotland’s first try of the tournament.
An excellent conversion followed, but Scotland’s spillage from the restart underlined the fact that the conditions were posing a formidable challenge. Nanai-Williams soon made his mark on the game, but not in a way he would have liked. Failing to find touch, he instead found the grateful arms of Maitland, who had all the time and space he needed to kick off another Scotland attack deep in Samoa territory. The ball found its way to Laidlaw, who rode a tackle well and finished beside the posts.
Now sniffing a bonus point, Scotland used quality grubbers and kicks to touch to pen back Samoa. When Nanai-Williams again kicked into the hands of a Scottish back, full back Hogg dispatched one of the best drop goals in memory between the posts from behind the halfway line.
With their handling game suffering in the humidity, Samoa were struggling to match Scotland kick for kick, and went into the break 20-0 down.
TMO Seals Five for Scotland
In the second half, the game descended into one of the most scrappy of the tournament so far, as both teams saw the ball escape from their possession with regularity. It was the TMO who gave Scotland their third try on 57 minutes, after wing Ed Fidow was yellow carded for entering the maul from the side and held up front row Fraser Brown in his efforts to head for the line.
With ten minutes remaining, and having come through Fidow’s sin bin unscathed, Samoa then embarrassingly missed a penalty kick to touch, the ball instead going dead. Three minutes later, Scotland were looking to wrap things up at the other end of the field. Maitland dove early and slid in a bid to go over in the corner, but was seen by the TMO to receive a knee to the back from Samoa’s last defender, Fidow. The result was a penalty try which saw the Samoan wing argue with referee Pascal Gauzere, earning himself a red card.
It capped a disappointing match for Samoa in which the conditions, and their inability to adapt, did them no favours. Scotland go into the rest of the tournament – starting with their third game against Russia in Shizuoka next Wednesday (10th October) – with renewed hope. Providing they can overcome the Bears, a ‘do or die’ encounter with hosts Japan will await.
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