SCOTLAND 45 JAPAN 10
SCOTLAND skipper Greg Laidlaw insisted that his side are primed for a sustained Rugby World Cup charge after opening their tournament with a bonus-point victory against surprise package Japan in Gloucester yesterday.
Four successful penalties from Laidlaw, who ended the clash with 20 points to his name, helped the Scots to a 12-7 half-time lead before Vern Cotter’s outfit cut loose in the second period. Glasgow centre Mark Bennett touched down twice while there were also tries for flanker John Hardie, wing Tommy Seymour and fly-half Finn Russell. Japan No8 Amanaki Mafi had crossed the line in the first-half.
“Happy days with that result, but hopefully that is just the start for this team,” said Laidlaw, whose side avoided becoming the first team in World Cup history to go four matches without scoring a try after a barren 2011.
“We talked at length about playing for 80 minutes and we did that. They said if they were in the game at half-time they could take us, so we were determined and outstanding.”
Japan had caused a major upset by beating South Africa in their opening clash in Brighton, although victory sent Scotland to the top of Pool B on five points, with Samoa and Japan on four and South Africa labouring on two.
Laidlaw added: “Japan’s win against South Africa blew the group wide open and meant it was important for us to win.”