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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

Scotland storm to 9-try win over Russia to set up showdown with Japan

Scrum-half George Horne scored a hat-trick as Russia completed their run in Pool A with another scoreless return.

Horne celebrates his first try.
Horne celebrates his first try.
Image: Adam Davy

Scotland 61

Russia 0

BACK-UP SCRUM-HALF George Horne bagged a hat-trick as Scotland secured a bonus point win with a nine-try 61-0 win over Russia.

The rout sets up a Pool A showdown with hosts Japan for a place in the quarter-finals.

Horne’s treble added to two scores from fly-half Adam Hastings and a try each for hooker George Turner, winger Tommy Seymour, flanker John Barclay and replacement Stuart McInally as the Scots ran riot against the Russians, who were nilled for a second time at the tournament.

scotland-v-russia-pool-a-2019-rugby-world-cup-shizuoka-stadium-ecopa Hasting makes a cut. Source: Adam Davy

A Scottish side boasting 14 changes from the team that beat Samoa 34-0 last week easily outgunned a Russian side ranked 20th in the world and which had suffered three defeats in their three previous Pool A games (Japan 30-10, Samoa 34-9, Ireland 35-0).

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend had no option but to rest the likes of big guns Greig Laidlaw, Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg, Blade Thompson and Johnny Gray, with only a four-day turnover before the game against Japan in Yokohama on Sunday.

Townsend’s bet on a largely second-string side producing enough to seal the win paid off, however, with Adam Hastings — son of legendary former captain Gavin — running the show with aplomb at Shizuoka’s Ecopa Stadium.

The result leaves Scotland on 10 points in Pool A while unbeaten hosts Japan have 14 and Ireland — who play Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday — 11. Only the two top sides will advance to the knock-out phase.

In the first ever Test match between the two nations, Russia were defensively weak against Scotland for the full 80 minutes and fly-half Ramil Gaisin’s touted territorial kicking game failed to mount any real pressure.

scotland-v-russia-pool-a-2019-rugby-world-cup-shizuoka-stadium-ecopa Horne celebrates his first try. Source: Adam Davy

The Scottish scrum was solid and when No 8 Ryan Wilson quickly fed George Horne, the scrum-half’s pass found Hastings who stepped back in and rode Dimitry Gerasomov’s tackle for a try he also converted.

Hastings made it a personal double within minutes, chasing up on his own chip past a wrong-footed Vasily Artemyev after winger Darcy Graham had done well to keep the ball alive.

Hastings converted that and also a third try from Horne after the scrum-half intercepted a Dmitry Perov pass from a defensive Russian line-out on the tryline to make it 21-0 at half-time.

Horne made sure of Scotland’s attacking bonus point when he crossed for the team’s fourth try five minutes into the second-half, a willing recipient of the final pass from Graham after the winger had scythed through a non-existent defence from halfway.

With Russia flagging and falling badly off the tackles, the floodgates opened as first hooker George Turner crashed over from a driving maul and then wing Tommy Seymour dotted down in the corner.

Horne, moved to the wing to accommodate Henry Pyrgos at half-back, bagged his hat-trick and had a fourth try disallowed for a forward pass.

A raft of replacements on the hour-mark robbed the game of its momentum, as many of the 16,000 schoolchildren in the stadium headed for buses home.

Late tries from skipper John Barclay and replacement hooker Stuart McInally gave the score some added gloss, but Hastings was denied the final word, referee Wayne Barnes harshly ruling out what would have been his hat-trick of tries for a forward pass.

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