Reaction after Scotland earn bonus-point win over Russia
Head Coach Gregor Townsend, Pete Horne and Man of the Match Adam Hastings spoke to the media after Scotland's bonus point win in Shizuoka as focus quickly turns to Sunday's game against Japan.
Head Coach Gregor Townsend reflects on the match:
"It was a tough game. The scoreline doesn’t suggest that but the effort that went into it in terms of putting pressure on the Russian defence and opening up space was huge from our players.
“The first action lasted four minutes 50 seconds and you don’t often see that. It shows the ambition Russia had coming into the game; they moved the ball a bit. They stretched our defence, but it created some turnovers for us and we exploited that.”
On the displays of half-back partnership George Horne and Adam Hastings:
"They played with real confidence and speed. Adam had real balance to his game with some excellent attacking kicks in the first half. They both work really hard, too.
"George is probably the fittest player in the squad, he gets to the breakdown so quickly. It was a good game for them. They looked confident and fit, and obviously scored a few tries as well.”
How pleased are you with the defensive performance?
"Credit to the players that they kept going hard in defence, but also credit to (defence coach) Matt Taylor. I also want to highlight (forwards coach) Danny Wilson.
"The last two games our forwards have delivered in a number of areas, especially the set piece. Russia brought an excellent and a good maul, but our scrum was excellent and our maul got better and better. We forced mistakes, too, at their lineout.
"We knew we had to get the bonus point first and foremost otherwise Sunday would have been even more difficult and getting a big score keeps things interesting for the Ireland-Samoa game as well. In two games we haven’t conceded a point or a try, which is very encouraging."
How tough will the four-day turnaround be for Japan?
"We thought about it with our selection and the pleasing thing was we managed the load on some players tonight.
“Duncan Taylor is our one injury concern. He has a thumb injury and is getting an x-ray now. It is great we can get that done straightaway. He may require further imaging if the x-ray doesn’t give us full details. Darcy Graham rolled his ankle but continued to play, so should be fine.
"It is really important we recover well and be in the best position possible to play our best rugby on Sunday."
What challenges do Japan pose?
"All aspects of our game have to be spot on. Japan are a very good side and we have to make best use of the ball and exploit space with good passing and put pressure in the ball with a good kick-chase.
"To deliver a performance like that against a Russia side who we knew would cause problems does give you confidence that the players are ready to play their best game on Sunday."
Man of the match, Adam Hastings, speaks to the media:
You must be happy with 26 points tonight?
"As the game went on we started to break them down. As soon as we got that fourth try we were able to relax a little, the forwards were brilliant.
"We had to have patience - we could have rushed into things and tried for amazing offloads and big looping passes to score tries, but it really was patience being the key and you saw that from the way we played the game in the first 20 minutes, pinging the corners and putting them under pressure, and the tries came from there.
"I thought I was on for a third try, but it was a forward pass. I don't score too many so two's enough."
And five tries from the half-backs is good going?
"I think we just wanted to put on a mature performance and show that we can run the ball when we need to but I think especially in those first 20 minutes you've seen a mature performance from me and him (scrum-half George Horne) and I'd like to think we were just pinning them back in the corners.
Lastly, what do you make of facing Japan for the chance to make the latter stages?
"It's 'either-or' so it's going to be tough kind of environment to play in.
“They'll have a lot of home fans cheering them on and it'll be pretty hostile but that's what you want in a World Cup.
“You want to be under pressure and I think that could help us."
Pete Horne on George's performance and the mood in camp:
What do you make of George’s hat-trick? He’s the first Scottish scrum-half to score one!
"I was really proud of him. He's something else isn't he? He's always there in the right position, and he's so quick and fit, you know when he gets the ball he's going to score in that situation. I was delighted for him. He's been working really hard and he's had to be patient."
What the mood in the camp about the upcoming clash with Japan?
"In a way it's like 'us against the world'. We're buzzing for it.
“It's a massive challenge. Everyone's counting us out, and that makes it more exciting for us. We're determined to go out and show everyone what we're made of this weekend.”