Gregor Townsend praises Scotland's efforts after overpowering Russia in Pool A
Last Updated: 09/10/19 1:22pm
Gregor Townsend praised the effort of his players, and highlighted his half-backs and pack, as Scotland recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time in 55 years.
The 61-0 win over Russia follows a 34-0 result against Samoa and sets up a mouthwatering final Pool A meeting, and duel for the quarter-finals, against Japan at the International Stadium Yokohama in Sunday.
"The effort went into that scoreline, to put pressure on the Russian defence to open up spaces was huge from our players," Townsend commented after their bonus-point victory.
"The first action lasted four minutes, 50 seconds I think which you don't often see and you don't see at the beginning of the game.
"It shows you the ambition that Russia came with, they moved the ball a lot. It stressed our defence but also created some turnovers for us that we exploited the longer that the game went on."
George Horne became the first Scottish scrum-half to score a Test hat-trick while his half-back partner Adam Hastings, contributed 26 points through a brace and eight conversions. Naturally, the Dark Blues' head coach was impressed with the duos' work.
"They played with real confidence and speed so they were very busy. I think that Adam [Hastings] had a real balance to his game," Townsend said.
"There were some excellent attacking kicks in the first half and George [Horne] had really good clearing kicks and they both worked very hard.
"It was a good game for them, they looked confident and fit and obviously scored a couple of tries."
Scotland's Rugby World Cup campaign started on the worst possible note - a 27-3 loss to Ireland. But since then they have regrouped well to deliver an aggregate scoreline of 95-0 over their next two matches.
"Credit to the players for [keeping Russia to nil] to keep going hard in defence and also to Matt Taylor as coach and I want to highlight Danny Wilson.
"In the last two games our forwards have delivered in a number of areas, especially around the set piece.
"We saw that Russia brought an excellent scrum, a very good maul and a physical group of forwards but I thought that our scrum was excellent."
"You look at getting the bonus point first of all, if we hadn't got the bonus point then Sunday would have been more difficult. So getting that was excellent and getting a bigger score will keep things interesting for Saturday night with the Ireland-Samoa game. But, also for the confidence of the players knowing that it's two games in which we haven't conceded a try or even a point, is very encouraging"
Now, the group's focus must quickly shift to Japan and Townsend is calm when it comes to the timescale that they're having to work with.
"The four-day turnaround has always been in the schedule so we've thought about selection and how we manage the load of the players," noted the head coach, who made his first substitution against Russia after just 30 minutes.
"We also thought about how we best approach the next few days. It is a challenge.
"We know that the opposition have had a good rest going into the game, I think that all of their games have had good rests, but we've known that this was always going to be the case.
"I'm not sure if we have any injuries, we'll get an update on Duncan Taylor who is the one concern right now," added the head coach.
"I think that all aspects of our game have to be spot on against Japan. They're a very, very good side and the ball that we will have against them on Sunday we will have to make best use of."
Away from the action on the pitch, Scotland are one of the sides that World Rugby are in contact with as they continue to monitor Typhoon Hagibis.
The typhoon is forecast to gain in strength and hit Tokyo on Sunday, Yokohama is just 20 miles from the Japanese capital. World Rugby are set to make an announcement on Thursday outlining their contingency plans.