Scotland 34-0 Samoa: Rugby World Cup match report, highlights and scorers

Greig Laidlaw scores for Scotland
Greig Laidlaw scores for Scotland

Scotland answered their critics in impressive fashion as Gregor Townsend's men grabbed a bonus-point win over Samoa to fire themselves back into contention for the World Cup quarter-finals.

Scotland 34-0 Samoa

Scotland tries: Maitland, Laidlaw, Penalty (2)
Scotland conversions: Laidlaw (2)
Scotland penalties: Laidlaw
Scotland drop goals: Hogg

Match highlights

Scotland vs Samoa (34-0) | Rugby World Cup 2019 Highlights

Match report

Scotland answered their critics in impressive fashion as Gregor Townsend's men grabbed a bonus-point win over Samoa to fire themselves back into contention for the World Cup quarter-finals.

Last Sunday's crushing defeat to Ireland, combined with Japan's shock win over Joe Schmidt's side, had left the Dark Blues on the verge of a humiliating early exit.

But their destiny know rests firmly in their own hands after thrashing the Pacific Islanders 34-0 at Kobe's Misaki Stadium.

Sean Maitland and Grieg Laidlaw both crossed over during a frenetic first half, while Stuart Hogg split the posts with a huge drop goal to give the Scots the morale boost they needed after their shambolic display in Yokohama eight days earlier.

And two penalty tries after the break ensured the Dark Blues walked away with maximum points.

The Scots must now repeat the trick against Russia a week on Wednesday - and if they do that they can seal a place in the last eight by defeating Japan while denying the tournament hosts a bonus point in their final Pool A game.

World Rugby rules meant the retractable roof was left closed on the 30,000 seater arena, ensuring temperatures of almost 30 degrees and humidity levels above 80 per cent inside.

The Scotland players will seldom have played in conditions like this and their discomfort was obvious within minutes of kick-off as the sweat poured down their faces.

There were spills, thrills and slips from the off as both teams had to contend with the moisture coating both the ball and the pitch.

The Scots were desperate for a fast start, but all they got from the opening quarter was a ninth-minute Laidlaw penalty after Melani Matavao was pulled up for a high tackle on Magnus Bradbury.

There were moments when frustration could have got the better of Townsend's men as their error count mounted.

Finn Russell almost put his team in trouble with a knock-on inside his own 22, while Laidlaw ruined some good work by the forwards when he overcooked a pass that even the 6ft 6ins Jonny Gray could not catch.

But the breakthrough on the half-hour mark was just what the Dark Blues needed to release the tension.

Townsend has put a greater focus on his team's approach to kicking during this tournament and it paid off as Russell fired a high ball across for Darcy Graham to chase.

The little Edinburgh wing did well to bring it down but was immediately pounced on by a ruck of blue shirts.

With Samoa over-committed down the right, Russell tried the trick again down the opposite flank and this time there was no-one there to stop Maitland dotting down.

The try seemed to immediately wash away all the doubts that have plagued the Scots since their Ireland mauling and they struck again within four minutes.

Russell was once more the instigator, this time with a stunning line-break that was all about his dancing feet.

The Racing 92 stand-off offloaded to Jamie Ritchie who rebounded the ball back for Laidlaw. The scrum-half had Ed Fidow to beat but got a helpful bounce off the Samoa wing's backside and stumbled over the line to score.

Scotland's tails were up now and they added to their lead three minutes before the break as Hogg nailed a massive 40-yard drop goal to become the first Scot to do so since Duncan Weir's last-minute winner against Italy in 2014.

They would have loved a third try in stoppage time but Samoa did just enough to survive surge after Scottish surge.

Scotland had won most of the collisions but started the second half going backwards as the Pacific Islanders fired out of the traps.

But the Dark Blues' pack soon regained control, with their pressure bringing about a penalty try after 57 minutes as Fidow was yellow carded for illegally dragging down a rolling maul as substitute hooker Fraser Brown tried to ram his way over the whitewash.

That left plenty time to chase the fourth touchdown and the precious bonus point.

And it came with six minutes left. Maitland was released out wide by Duncan Taylor and immediately put his head down and charged for the line. He dived early, but was prevented from reaching the line by Fidow's illegal knee-first tackle.

Referee Pascal Gauzere saw the challenge for what it was and flashed a second yellow - followed by red - at the Samoan wing before awarding the penalty try to the Scots' delight.

Match reaction

"That was a true reflection of who we are and what we are capable of and what playing for Scotland means to the players," said Scotland coach Gregor Townsend.

"That was a tough challenge to face, knowing that if we underperformed we were out of the World Cup. To see the effort and togetherness was excellent.

"Last week we missed the beginning of the game and I take responsibility for not preparing the team well enough to start well against Ireland.

"But that didn't make us a bad team. Tonight was great to see them get rewards for their effort.

"The goal was to win the game and we believed with the pressure we built that opportunities would come in the second half.

"You have to play the full 80 to get the bonus point. We are glad we got it.

"To win and play better was the target and anything extra would be an exceptional performance and it was, especially in the first half."

Scotland player ratings

STUART HOGG: The full-back chose his moments to kick to perfection - none more so than with his huge 40-yard drop goal. 8

DARCY GRAHAM: The Edinburgh wing was a bundle of energy on a night when Scotland had to be at their best. 7

CHRIS HARRIS: Given the nod over Duncan Taylor and did not disappoint with some meaty carries. 6

SAM JOHNSON: Struggled to keep a grip of the ball amid the sweaty conditions but made up for his mistakes with some solid defence. 5

SEAN MAITLAND: Did brilliantly to collect Finn Russell's cross-field kick to dot down the opening try and was only denied a second by Ed Fidow's illegal tackle at the end. 7

FINN RUSSELL: Produced two moments of magic to create the first two tries but threw in the odd mistake to take the shine off his display. 7

GREIG LAIDLAW: Off the beat with his kicking game at times but kept his feet to get across the line for his side's second touchdown. 5

ALLAN DELL: The London Irish loosehead prop lasted just 12 minutes before trudging off with a head knock. 5

STUART McINALLY: The skipper was under pressure to lead his men to a big victory after last week's Irish shocker and led by example with some big carries. 7

WP NEL: Quieter game than last week in Yokohama, when he was one of the few to emerge with credit, but really put the Samoans to the sword at the scrum. 6

GRANT GILCHRIST: The Edinburgh lock carried effectively in midfield and was a solid operator when it came to the lineout. 6

JONNY GRAY: Did brilliantly to stack up his usual high tackle count amid searing temperatures but failed to make much ground in the loose. 6

MAGNUS BRADBURY: Made the most of his late call-up to the squad with an impressive display as he took the fight to the Pacific Islanders' big men. 7

JAMIE RITCHIE: Given the task of filling in for the injured Hamish Watson at openside but did not let Gregor Townsend down with an assured display. 7

BLADE THOMSON: An outstanding display from the Scarlets number eight as he consistently made ground with the ball in hand. 8

Replacements: Gordon Reid came on early for the injured Dell and won an important scrum penalty while Fraser Brown replaced McInally early in the second half and played a vital role in winning Scotland's first penalty try. 6

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