Manu put to the sword by superior Scots in first half
Scotland have shown their class against the Manu Samoa, carrying a 20-point lead into the break at Kobe Misaki Stadium in both teams’ second Rugby World Cup hitout.
Scotland started with a hiss and a roar, making very strong tackles early before making the game’s first break.
They worked an overlap and got the ball out to winger Darcy Graham in space, who burst over the 22 metre line.
Samoa did well to force a maul and a turnover a few phases later, but also had to cope with skipper Jack Lam going off for a head injury assessment in just the third minute.
The Scots kept the hammer down, and took the lead in the ninth minute with a penalty for an early tackle, halfback Greig Laidlaw making the kick.
Lam returned having passed his HIA a few minutes later, and a defensive scrum penalty win looked like it could flip the momentum with the Manu clearing halfway.
But both teams struggled to build consistency on attack, with handling errors at crucial moments killing momentum.
Around the 25-minute mark, a Scotland knock-on inside their own 40 gave Samoa their first real attacking possession of the game.
A couple of good carries from Chris Vui and Melani Matavao brought the Manu into the 22, but TJ Ioane was caught holding onto the ball at the breakdown for a penalty.
Scotland finally clicked in the 30th minute, catching the Samoan defence napping with a pinpoint cross-kick from first five Finn Russell.
Tusi Pisi was defending out wide, but he was on the backfoot and Sean Maitland went in for an easy try, which Laidlaw converted to make the lead 10.
Russell made a nice break and offload a few minutes later, and Laidlaw ended up with the ball behind the first layer of the defence.
The Manu should have had him covered, but a poor attempted tackle from Tim Nanai-Williams only served to push the veteran halfback over the tryline.
Scotland turned the screws in the dying minutes of the half, with fullback Stuart Hogg nailing a drop goal to take the lead to 20.
There would have been time for one more score too, as Tim Nanai-Williams put the kickoff out on the full, and Scotland won a penalty that gave them a five metre lineout.
They mauled well again, and Samoa were penalised for collapsing it.
The defence held up well though, with the Manu clinging to a bit of hope heading into the break.