Scotland’s World Cup playoff flame is still burning brightly after they demolished Russia 61-0 in their Pool A match on Wednesday, writes JOHN GOLIATH.
The Scots remain in third place in the fiercely contested pool following the result, but the bonus-point win has shot them up to 10 points with a single round of fixtures to go. They also did their points difference a world of good with the thumping of the hapless Russians.
Scotland started the match slowly, but scored three tries before half time to take a 21-0 lead into the break. They turned on the style in the second half, getting their bonus point in the 45th minute and scoring 40 unanswered points.
Flyhalf Adam Hastisngs contributed 26 points for Scotland, which included two tries in the first half and eight conversions.
Scotland are now just one point behind Ireland, and four points behind shock pool leaders Japan, who face each other in Yokohama on Sunday.
A win for Scotland will be good enough for them to qualify for the quarters ahead of Japan if both teams finish on the same log points, because of the head-to-head rule. If the hosts lose, but get a losing bonus point and/or a bonus point for scoring four tries, they will qualify ahead of Scotland because of superior log points.
Japan and Scotland, however, would both reach the quarter-finals if Samoa manage to beat Ireland the day before in Fukuoka City. If all three teams end the pool stage on 15 points, the two quarter-finalists from the group will be determined by points difference.
To add to the drama, a typhoon has also been forecast to hit Fukuoaka City on Saturday, but World Rugby has yet to announce contingency plans if the match is abandoned.
Scotland – Tries: Adam Hastings (2), George Horne (3), George Turner, Tommy Seymour, John Barclay, Stuart McInally. Conversions: Adam Hastings (8).
Scotland – 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Darcy Graham, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 George Horne, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Fraser Brown, 6 John Barclay (c), 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Gordon Reid.
Subs: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Simon Berghan, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Jamie Ritchie, 22 Henry Pyrgos, 23 Chris Harris.
Russia – 15 Vasily Artemyev (c), 14 German Davydov, 13 Vladimir Ostroushko, 12 Dmitry Gerasimov, 11 Vladislav Sozonov, 10 Ramil Gaisin, 9 Dmitry Perov, 8 Nikita Vavilin, 7 Tagir Gadzhiev, 6 Vitaly Zhivatov, 5 Evgeny Elgin, 4 Andrey Ostrikov, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Stanislav Selskii, 1 Valery Morozov.
Subs: 16 Sergey Chernyshev, 17 Azamat Bitiev, 18 Vladimir Podrezov, 19 Bogdan Fedotko, 20 Andrey Garbuzov, 21 Sergey Ianiushkin, 22 Anton Sychev, 23 Yury Kushnarev.
Photo: Getty Images