Needing a to rack up a big victory to stay in contention for a quarter-final spot the Scots did just that with a hat-trick of tries from George Horne, along with a brace from Adam Hastings adding to efforts from George Turner, Tommy Seymour, John Barclay and Stuart McInally.
Both teams started well with the ball staying in play for most of the opening stages, but despite Russia having a good opening it was Scotland who went ahead on 14 minutes after winning a scrum against the head inside the opposition 22.
From the resulting scrum they sent the ball out to Hastings who dummy passed before breaking breaking through a gap in the defence to go over for the games first try. He converted his own score to make it 7-0.
Five minutes later and the fly-half was at the centre of the action again as he kicked ahead, racing onto the loose ball to kick forward once more and diving on the ball in the in-goal area for his second of the game, which he again converted.
Less than three minutes on and Scotland had try number three with Russia winning their own line-out five-metres out from their own line, but then sending a pass to the backs which was intercepted by Horne, who touched down. Hastings added the extras once more.
Russia held out for the remainder of the opening half as Scotland went in 21-0 up come the whistle.
Five minutes into the second-half and Scotland had the bonus-point try they needed and deserved, with Darcy Graham catching a kick inside his own 22 before darting forward and after some nice handling the ball found its way to Horne for the try. Hastings was perfect from the tee again.
With just under half an hour remaining the Russians began to tire and Scotland took full advantage as they drove forward from a line-out maul before Turner broke away from the back and charged over, with Hastings putting two more points on the board.
A few minutes later and Scotland were in once again as Blair Kinghorn sent a lovely kick through the Russian 22 for Seymour to dive on the ball for another Scottish try. Hastings made it six from six from the tee.
Moments later and and Horne was on the end of a great break from Scotland diving over in the left-hand corner for his hat-trick. This time Hastings couldn’t convert but it was 47-0 with little over 20 minutes remaining.
The Russians managed to hold out for the next 15 minutes before Barclay made a fantastic break through the defensive line and fake passed to get past the final defender and touched down under the posts. Hastings made no mistake this time around with the kick.
With a minute left replacement McInally ran in for a try in the right-hand corner to stretch the lead. Hastings slotted over the touchline conversion for the final points of the game leaving it at 61-0.
The victory now means that Scotland have a chance to go through to the quarter-finals if they beat hosts Japan on Sunday in what will be a shootout for the last-eight. While for Russia they conclude their tournament with their heads held high after putting in some good performances throughout the tournament.
Scotland Player Ratings
Blair Kinghorn (7), Tommy Seymour (7), Duncan Taylor (7), Pete Horne (8), Darcy Graham (8), Adam Hastings (9), George Horne (9); Gordon Reid (7), George Turner (7), Zander Fagerson (7), Scott Cummings (7), Ben Toolis (8), John Barclay (8), Fraser Brown (6), Ryan Wilson (7)
Fans Player of the Decade Confirmed
World Rugby have announced the winner of their Fans Player of the Decade vote and there’s no surprise who’s won
Former All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter has been named World Rugby’s Fans Player of the Decade following their polls over the past couple of weeks.
The organisation narrowed the competition down to 16 players, as they split them into a last-16 style format, with backs on one side and forwards on the other. With two players going head-to-head in the polls to make it through to each respective round.
Last week it was brought down to the final four, with all of them being New Zealand internationals as Carter was pitted up against Beauden Barrett, with Richie McCaw facing Kieran Read.
McCaw and Carter were victorious and now Carter has come out as the overall winner as the best player over the past 10-years.
It is not hard to see why fans have gone for the 112-cap All Black, who finished up his international career in 2015, having guided his country to historic back-to-back Rugby World Cup crowns.
As well as that he holds the title for the most points scored at test-level rugby with an incredible 1598 to his name.
On the international stage he was impressive, but he has been equally so at club-level, winning domestic crowns in both France with Racing 92 and in Japan with the Kobelco Steelers.
The 37-year-old is still under contract with the Japanese outfit, but has been unable to play for them for the majority of the year, having suffered a major injury, which also prevented him from a brief return to Racing 92 for the latter-half of last season.
However, he is poised to return to the playing field shortly and will be hoping to guide his team to further success and will have the aid of another All Black great joining him in the form of Brodie Retallick, who is linking up with the side for the season during his year sabbatical.
Read Admits to Injury in RWC Semi-Final
Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read has opened up about an injury he picked up before the Rugby World Cup semi-final against England earlier this year
The 128-cap international retired from test-level rugby following the tournament in Japan and has confirmed he was injured for the semi-final defeat to England in his new autobiography “Straight Eight”.
He claims that he suffered a calf injury during New Zealand’s incredible quarter-final win over Ireland and that it prevented him from preparing properly for the last-four clash.
“What if I had been able to train with the team that week instead of watching from the sideline? What if I had been out there to offer a little more direction, or reassurance, or assistance?” he wrote in his book.
However, despite losing the game 19-7 while injured, Read also admitted that England were the deservide winners on the day as they overpowered the All Blacks.
Many will now question the coach’s decision to allow Read to play while injured and hamper the team’s chances as they bid to win a third Rugby Cup on the trot, with Read part of a back-row that was up against the likes of Billy Vunipola.
At 34, Read has now chosen to move abroad and taken up a role with the Toyota Verblitz in Japan, where he will once again work with former All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen.
It is doubtful that even if he was at full tilt for the game that there would have been a different outcome due to England’s sheer dominance on the day, but it does show that the All Blacks went in with a chink in their armour before the match had even kicked-off.
Is Schmidt to Blame for Ireland’s RWC Failings?
The IRFU have placed the blame of Ireland’s dismal World Cup campaign on Joe Schmidt, but is it really that easy?
The result according to the IRFU was that Ireland failed to evolve a game plan, failed in performance due to anxiety, had poor preparation ahead of the tournament and had a skills deficit compared to the world’s best teams.
All of which appears to have been placed on head coach Joe Schmidt, who stepped aside following the conclusion of the tournament.
The conclusion of where the team failed was reached by IRFU high performance director David Nucifora, who interviewed coaches and staff, while an independent body held discussions with the players, with all roads leading to the four failings mentioned above.
Schmidt, who took over as head coach in 2013, a year before Nucifora took his role with the IRFU, is becoming the sole person responsible for the team’s failure, but is that fair?
Yes, Ireland appeared to be stuck playing the same game-plan as their impressive 2018 campaign, which saw them defeat all before them, which is a failure to evolve, but Schmidt had a full team of back-room staff, were they not capable of coming up with a different plan? Or were the players themselves unable to use their own initiative to bring forward a case of how they should play to Schmidt?
In terms of performance anxiety, these are international stars, playing on the biggest stage in European rugby for their provinces on a regular basis. Some criticized Schmidt for not rotating the team enough, but that meant that the same players where playing on the international stage for Ireland on a regular basis too, why are they anxious?
These are the cream of the crop in Ireland, players that have won Champions Cups and PRO14 titles with their clubs, Six Nations titles and Grand Slams with Ireland, winning series tours with their country and some have even represented the British and Irish Lions on the grand stage. Why are they anxious and what does it have to do with Schmidt?
Schmidt is a man renowned for his tactical and thorough preparation, looking at teams inside out to find their weaknesses and looking at his own team to find their strengths so what changed this year from a man that admitted his only regret when leaving the job was the fact that he only took one day off in six years.
The team had played together many times before, went on training camps weeks before the tournament in Japan, including hot-weather camps to prepare for the soaring temperatures and humidity, and played pre-World Cup warm-up games. So why weren’t they prepared and once more how is Schmidt to blame?
Lastly, a lack in skills, an area were former players have noted Ireland failed to capitalise on during the past year. Some pointing towards Leinster’s style of play and asking why players weren’t following that example.
It is true that Schmidt prefers a risk-free game, but surely once on the pitch, the players must use their initiative when opportunities arise, and play expansive rugby when the chances come if that’s how to win a game of rugby.
Schmidt may have asked them to be more careful, but it is up to the players on the pitch to seize a game by the scruff of the neck and create openings. It seems unlikely that Schmidt would have argued with his players if they made it further in the World Cup by taking more of a risk.
The four areas where Ireland failed to seem to be somewhat of the overall problem, and it would be foolish not to place some of the blame on the head coach, but it seems strange and even more foolish to pile the sole blame on him.
There was a group of staff and players that prepared and went to Japan, a group of talented individuals, if Schmidt was falling short they should have been able to point it out and take it upon themselves to help solve the issues at hand.
May the environment had gone stale after six years of the same routine, may the players needed more of a challenge, but what appeared to happen this year more than before was the players looked to lack motivation and desire in the green jersey, and that is on them no matter who tries to cover it up.
While others find it easy to point the finger of blame to a man no longer associated with the IRFU, a look in the mirror may be a good idea. Afterall, if Schmidt was the problem then questions may be raised as to why it is his former right-hand man becoming Ireland’s head coach. Hopefully exciting times lie ahead under Andy Farrell, but don’t be surprised if more of the same is to follow.
Four years ago Ireland were trounced in the quarter-finals of the World Cup by Argentina, in between then they arguably became the best team in the world under Schmidt, before being trounced again by the All Blacks at the same stage of the competition. The hope will be that Farrell can produce something others have failed to in the Irish hot-seat, but a review of a tournament isn’t what will help, a review of the system is needed and each member involved with Ireland’s failings should hold their hand up for the failure, because one man isn’t the only person at fault.
European Player of the Year Nominees Announced
Harlequins Secure South African Star’s Signature
New Springboks Head Coach Announced
2019/20 Season Fixtures & Results
These are class. All the Irish Rugby Gifs
The Low-down on Ulster’s New Signings
6 Nations7 days ago
Jones Drops 10 for Six Nations Squad
International7 days ago
England Coach Set for Departure
Premiership6 days ago
Rugby Australia Confirm Skelton Stance
Rugby3 days ago
Cheika Lands Surprise New Job
6 Nations4 days ago
Scotland Suffer Major Six Nations Blow
6 Nations5 days ago
Fitzgerald Stunned by One Players Ireland Omission
Top 146 days ago
Montpellier’s New Director of Rugby Announced
Super Rugby5 days ago
Hooper Makes Surprise Waratah’s Decision