Scotland keep Rugby hopes alive with Samoa win


KOBE, Japan: Scotland revived their Rugby World Cup campaign with a decisive 34-0 win over Samoa in Kobe on Monday that saw the Pacific islanders finish a man down.The bonus point win for Gregor Townsend’s men could prove vital in a tight Pool A that also involves Ireland and hosts Japan. Victory was all but assured after a burst of 17 points in eight minutes late in the first half left Scotland 20-0 ahead at the interval.Scotland wing Sean Maitland and Greig Laidlaw scored tries, both converted by the fly-half who also kicked an early penalty, before fullback Stuart Hogg landed the Scots’ first Test-match drop goal for more than five years with an audacious effort from just inside the halfway line.Scotland secured the four-try bonus point with two penalty tries, Ed Fidow shown a pair of yellow cards that meant the Samoa wing saw red six minutes from time.“We’re all delighted to get that bonus point. It means we’re still in this World Cup,” said Scotland coach Townsend. “We’ve two games to go and if we play like we did tonight and improve a couple of aspects, we’re very much in this World Cup.”The Scots were in desperate need of a victory to have any hope of reaching the quarter-finals after starting this World Cup with a woeful 27-3 loss to Ireland—who were in turn the victims of a shock 19-12 defeat by hosts Japan that threw Pool A wide open.The Ireland reverse led Townsend to make wholesale changes, including fielding an entirely new back-row against Samoa.The Pacific islanders were without centre Rey Lee-Lo and hooker Motu Matu’u after the pair received three-game bans for shoulder-led hits in a bruising 34-9 win over Russia.It looked as if Laidlaw’s ninth-minute penalty would be the lone score of a first half where both sides struggled to hold on to the ball in humid conditions under the closed roof of the Kobe Misaki Stadium.In the error-strewn early exchanges, the biggest cheers went to a spectator playing the bagpipes, a traditional Scottish instrument.
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