Scotland V Samoa

Scotland recorded their first victory of the 2019 Rugby World Cup with a thoroughly professional try bonus point win against Samoa in Kobe today.

Two tries in each half, good discipline and smart rugby from Scotland were at the heart of today’s success.

The forwards did so much of the ground work with Jamie Ritchie, on his World Cup debut, outstanding, and there was tactical nous aplenty in the kicking game of both Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg.

Defence was solid, too, and it ended as the fourth occasion in Rugby World Cup history that Scotland have kept their opponents pointless, Samoa following in the footsteps of Ivory Coast in 1995, Spain in 1999 and Romania in 2007. According to the statisticians, it was the first time Samoa had failed to score any points in a World Cup tie.

Scotland had endured a poor start to their Pool A campaign with defeat against Ireland in Yokohama, whereas Samoa had posted a try-bonus point victory over Russia in Kumagaya in their opening match.

It was humid under the roof of the Kobe Misaki Stadium as the 30,000-crowd watched as Samoa kicked off and Grant Gilchrist caught cleanly.

Gilchrist and Magnus Bradbury were quick to make thumping tackles and from a high ball take by Hogg, Scotland attacked right, and Darcy Graham blazed into the Samoan 22.

Ritchie was held up on the left in a maul and Samoa got the first scrum put-in as their captain Jack Lam departed for a head injury assessment.

Off a Gilchrist lineout take, Scotland attacked, and Bradbury carried vigorously. Josh Tyrell, the Samoan back-row substitute, was then penalised for an obstruction and Greig Laidlaw landed the game’s first points (3-0, 8 mins).

Samoa’s first penalty saw them opt for the touchline and Tusi Pisi danced threateningly, before, from a turnover, Hogg booted the ball 50 metres down the field. At the scrum, just outside the Samoan 22, the penalty went to the Pacific Islanders.

Scotland had enjoyed territorial advantage in the opening quarter but, thus far, the scoreboard operator was having a quiet day.

Off scrum ball, centre field, Sean Maitland popped up on his wrong wing and Scotland then got a driving maul going into the Samoan 22 but Jonny Gray guddled and Samoa cleared to half-way.

On the half-hour, Scotland attacked through a Laidlaw box-kick and Maitland’s aerial skills saw Scotland re-possess. Hogg and Graham then menaced on the right before Scotland recycled and Finn Russell’s clever diagonal kick was pouched by Maitland who did just enough to evade Pisi for Scotland’s first try of the tournament. It was his 13thtry for his country. Laidlaw converted (10-0, 29 mins).

Scotland could not gather from the kick-off but within four minutes, they had claimed their second try.

Maitland again was involved in the build-up and a glorious sleight of hand from Russell released Ritchie who was the link to Laidlaw, who eventually found space to ride the tackle from Tim Nanai-Williams and race over for his fifth try for Scotland and his first since . . . the 2015 Rugby World Cup victory over Samoa in Newcastle. The scrum-half converted his own try (17-0, 33 mins).

Scotland had at last mined some points from their possession and, from a Samoan clearance, Maitland’s quick lineout enabled Hogg to drop for goal from the left about 40 metres out. It was a sweet strike and referee Gauzere signalled it was over. It was Scotland’s first drop-goal since Duncan Weir’s winning strike against Italy five years ago. (20-0, 37 mins).

Scotland ended the half strongly. A scrum penalty on the half-way line saw Hogg’s mighty touch-finder take them to within five metres. Two penalties followed as Samoa illegally thwarted Scotland lineout maul drives, but they ultimately won a penalty of their own and the half drew to a close.

Half-time: Scotland 20 Samoa 0

It was a scrappy start to the second half with both sides conceding penalties, Samoa for a neck roll by Pisi on Blade Thomson and Scotland when Gordon Reid was pinged at a scrum.

Two successive penalties for Scotland, enabled Hogg to take Scotland to within eight metres. Gilchrist rose highest at the lineout and Chris Harris had a tilt but a “no-arms” tackle from TJ Ioane saw Scotland awarded another penalty underneath the Samoan posts.

Scotland attacked off scrum ball but Russell’s pass could not be taken by Graham. The penalties continued to flow against Samoa and Hogg again prompted Scotland to a five-metre lineout.

Substitute Scott Cummings took and the forward drive was heading towards the line until Ed Fidow came in from an offside position to deny Fraser Brown. After consultation with his TMO, referee Gauzere awarded Scotland a penalty try and yellow carded Fidow. (27-0, 56 mins).

Reid was denied a try as he attempted to drive over from close-range in the 62ndminute as Scotland went to their bench in search of the try bonus point.

Scotland got the bonus point try in the 74thminute but it came in controversial circumstances. Scotland worked the ball right with Thomson playing a key role. Maitland was uncorked and it looked as if he had timed his dive brilliantly to aqua-plane in for the try. Onto the scene arrived Fidow who forced the ball to spill from Maitland’s grasp before the try line, but only because of a no-arms tackle, which saw him drive his knees into Maitland’s back. Again, after chat with the TMO, the referee awarded a penalty try and with Fidow’s second yellow-card, it marked the departure for the left-wing. (34-0, 73 mins).

A Fraser Brown break seemed set to release George Horne for a trademark contribution only for Nanai-Williams to intercept but, by then, it was job done for Scotland.

Full Time: 34 Samoa 0 

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs); Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby), Chris Harris (Gloucester), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), Sean Maitland (Saracens); Finn Russell (Racing 92), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne); Allan Dell (London Irish), Stuart McInally CAPTAIN, Willem Nel, Grant Gilchrist (all Edinburgh Rugby), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie (both Edinburgh Rugby), Blade Thomson (Scarlets).

Subs: Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) for McInally (51 mins), Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls) for Dell (12 mins), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) for Nel (57 mins), Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) for Gilchrist (51 mins), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) for Bradbury (72 mins), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) for Laidlaw (64 mins), Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) for Russell (75 mins), Duncan Taylor (Saracens) for Johnson (64 mins).

Samoa: Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams; Belgium Tuatagaloa, Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Ed Fidow; Tusi Pisi, Melani Matavao; Logovii Mulipola, Ray Niuia, Michael Alaalatoa, Teofilo Paulo, Kane Le’aupepe, Chris Vui, TJ Ioane, Jack Lam CAPTAIN.

Subs: Seilala Lam for Niuia (53 mins) Paul Alo-Emile for Alaalatoa (46 mins), Jordan Lay for Mulipola (43 mins), Piula Faasalele for Paulo (50 mins), Josh Tyrell for Lam (3-12 mins) and for Ioane (65 mins), Pele Cowley for Matavao (70 mins), Ulupano Seuteni for Pisi (53 mins), Kieron Fonotia for Tuatagaloa (44 mins).

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France). Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Federico Anselmi (Argentina). TMO: Graham Hughes (England).

Man of the match: Jonny Gray (Scotland)

live commentary 11:15 AM Monday 30 Sep 2019

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Kick-off 11:15 AM

Scotland

Samoa

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