Scotland too good for lacklustre Samoa
The Manu Samoa has been thrashed, 34-0, by Scotland in their second Rugby World Cup match at Kobe Misaki Stadium.
They will also face further punishment with a ban coming to Ed Fidow, who picked up a red card late on.
A crowd of 27,586 was in attendance under the closed roof, with Scotland enjoying plenty of vocal support.
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.
They made some early substitutions to try and change the momentum, and a couple of consecutive penalties got the Manu a five-metre lineout.
Samoa tried to keep it tight with pick-and-go in midfield, but a loose pass from Ray Niuia was dropped by Jack Lam, then Chris Vui was caught offside to release the pressure.
It was all Scotland for the next 10 minutes, as they built pressure in the hunt for the bonus point they will likely need to get out of Pool A.
They mauled off a five metre lineout, and got over the line before wing Ed Fidow came in from the side to hold the ball up.
He was yellow carded, and Scotland were awarded a penalty try in the 57th minute.
Few things went right for Samoa during the match, but they did put up some good goalline defence in the next 10, not conceding until Fidow’s return.
Samoa finally built some consistent attack as the game crept inside its last 10 minutes.
They went 11 phases inside the 22 but play was called back under penalty advantage for offside.
But Samoa kicked the penalty dead looking to put the ball in touch five metres out.
Scotland scored somewhat against the run of play, and the try came in the worst possible fashion for the Manu.
Sean Maitland looked in for all money, but Fidow slid into him with his knees to prevent him from scoring.
He received a second yellow and subsequent red for his efforts, and will be facing some sort of ban for the rest of the tournament.
The referee duly awarded Scotland a second penalty try, giving them their bonus point.
The Manu knocked on Scotland’s door late in the game, but it was to no avail as they were kept scoreless.