The Scots get their World Cup campaign back on track with a bonus-point win over Samoa

2019 Rugby World Cup: Scotland 34-0 Samoa

Head-to-head

Played – 12

Scotland wins – 10

Samoa wins – 1

Draws – 1

Did you know?

  • Adam and Gavin Hastings are the first father-son combination to represent Scotland at the Rugby World Cup.
  • Stuart Hogg’s first-half effort was the first Scotland drop-goal since Duncan Weir’s winner against Italy in 2014 and the first for a Scotland full-back since 1996.
  • This is the first time Samoa have been nilled in a Rugby World Cup match.

Related: All hail the return of the Rugby World Cup drop-goal

In a nutshell

Another sweltering night in the Kobe Misaki Stadium, another litany of handling errors. This was anything but a classic under the lights of this enclosed stadium – two fans took it into their own hands to try to entertain the crowd by running onto the pitch on separate occasions – but Scotland left with the all-important bonus-point win, albeit that their top try-scorer was ‘penalty’.

Gregor Townsend has often talked about wanting Scotland to play the fastest brand of rugby in the world, but trying to do so in this sort of humidity also means that things get loose and errors are frequent. They did get traction when turning to their lineout maul from penalties and they defended strongly.

2019 Rugby World Cup: Scotland v Samoa

Line time: Greig Laidlaw scores despite Ed Fidow tackling him (Getty Images)

Scotland took the lead with an early Greig Laidlaw penalty but it took them half an hour to score a try with both sides dropping balls in the slippery conditions. Jack Lam described it as “a bar of soap” post-match and it was almost as if neither team wanted to retain possession, with turnovers leading to a fractured display.

Sean Maitland, who had looked dangerous from the start, scored the first try, plucking a Finn Russell cross-kick out of the air and going over.

The second came just four minutes later. Russell made a half-break, offloaded to Jamie Ritchie, who then found Laidlaw and the scrum-half bounced out of a tackle to make it to the line.

Stuart Hogg made it 20-0 when he managed to keep his cool in the oppressive heat to slot a drop-goal from close to halfway after Maitland had taken a quick lineout.

The Scots pushed for a third try from a series of lineouts in the Samoa 22 once the gong for half-time had sounded but couldn’t get across the line.

The second half started much like the first, both sides struggling to keep possession and build phases through their own errors.

Samoa had a decent period in the Scotland 22 but another knock-on allowed the Scots to clear their lines.

Scotland then had a spell in the Samoa 22, first putting on pressure through scrums and then five-metre lineouts. They eventually got their third try in the 57th minute when they were awarded a penalty try.

Even though they had got over the line there was no clear grounding, but because Ed Fidow had come in from the side to collapse the maul referee Pascal Gauzere ruled a penalty try and yellow-carded the Samoa wing.

2019 Rugby World Cup: Scotland v Samoa

Wrapped up: Tim Nanai-Williams is tackled by Allan Dell and Jonny Gray of Scotland (Getty Images)

Samoa did have a chance as the game entered the last ten minutes, gaining territory from penalties and Ulupano Seutini releasing Alapati Leiua into the 22 with a lovely inside pass. But Seutini then undid all his good work by overcooking a later penalty kick to touch, allowing Scotland to clear.

Then came Scotland’s bonus-point try – in controversial circumstances. Maitland broke down the wing and looked to have lost control of the ball as he dove for the line. Yet when the officials reviewed it with the TMO, they deemed that Fidow had dived in with ‘knees to the back’ and that was the reason Maitland had not scored. So a penalty try for Scotland and a second yellow for Fidow, which meant he was red-carded.

Samoa tried in vain to get a try in the closing stage but they came up short and become the first team to be nilled at this World Cup.

Star man

It’s hard to pick out a standout in a match so devoid of quality. Tim Nanai-Williams and Sean Maitland showed flashes with ball in hand for Samoa and Scotland respectively, but Jonny Gray got the official nod and as the only tight-five forward to play all 80 minutes for the victors it seems only right. He got through a ton of work and that is even more impressive in this heat.

The Reaction

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend: “We defended with real passion, putting big hits on very big men time and time again. That knocked the confidence of the Samoan carriers. They’re a very dangerous team and they still caused us problems right at the end, so the effort at that last lineout maul and few phases in defence was outstanding.

“Going into the game a win and a better performance was what we were targetting. Anything extra would be an exceptional performance and that is what it was, especially in the first half.”

Samoa coach Steve Jackson: “You’re trying to stop two tries, it’s risk and reward, but we’re not intentionally going out there to get yellow cards and by no means do we coach or train that.

“Credit to Scotland, they were hungry, the set-piece went well, defensively they were outstanding and showed a different side in attack tonight. We had opportunities to score tries but there was poor execution. That was probably down to the fact they defended extremely well.”

Scotland: Stuart Hogg; Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson (Duncan Taylor 64), Sean Maitland; Finn Russell (Adam Hastings 76), Greig Laidlaw (George Horne 64); Allan Dell (Gordon Reid 13), Stuart McInally (captain, Fraser Brown 52), Willem Nel (Zander Fagerson 58), Grant Gilchrist (Scott Cummings 52), Jonny Gray, Magnus Bradbury (Ryan Wilson 72), Jamie Ritchie, Blade Thomson.

Tries: Maitland 30, Laidlaw 34, penalty try 57, 75. Cons: Laidlaw 2. Pens: Laidlaw. DG: Hogg.

Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams; Belgium Tuatagaloa (Kieron Fonotia 45), Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Ed Fidow; Tusi Pisi (Ulupano Seuteni 54), Melani Matavao (Pele Cowley 71); Logovii Mulipola (Jordan Lay 44), Ray Niuia (Seilala Lam 54), Michael Alaalatoa (Paul Alo-Emile 47), Teofilo Paulo (Piula FaFaasalele 51-79), Kane Le’aupepe, Chris Vui, TJ Ioane (Josh Tyrell 66), Jack Lam (captain, Josh Tyrell 3-13).

Yellow card: Ed Fidow (57min). Red card: Fidow (75min).

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