Monday 21 October 2019

Hastings leads Scots' nine-try Bears blitz

Scotland 61-0 Russia

Adam Hastings. Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Adam Hastings. Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Daniel Schofield

By racking up nine tries against Russia, Scotland thought they had taken fate in their own hands - only to later discover that it instead lies with World Rugby and their weather forecasters.

After being eliminated from the last World Cup by a mistake by referee Craig Joubert in their quarter-final defeat to South Africa, this would be an intolerable act of cruelty if Typhoon Hagibis causes their winner-takes-all clash against Japan to be cancelled. Immediately after the game, head coach Gregor Townsend was still under the impression that the worst-case scenario would be for the match, scheduled to be in Yokohama on Sunday, to be moved.

Russia's number 8 Nikita Vavilin is tackled by Scotland's lock Ben Toolis. Photo: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images
Russia's number 8 Nikita Vavilin is tackled by Scotland's lock Ben Toolis. Photo: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images

If the game is cancelled then Scotland would be eliminated should Ireland beat Samoa on Saturday. They can only hope and pray.

Certainly they could have done nothing more against Russia. Their second-string team wrapped up a bonus point inside 46 minutes and go on to register their biggest World Cup victory since their 89-0 thrashing of Ivory Coast in 1995.

Gavin Hastings racked up 44 points in that game and was present to see his son Adam Hastings score 26 points, including two tries, while his half-back partner George Horne registered a hat-trick of tries.

For a team that had proved such obdurate opponents for Ireland and Japan, Russia were sliced apart by Scotland with surprising ease.

Maybe it was a game too far for Russia playing against what head coach Lyn Jones described as "super-sonic rugby" of Tier One level.

No player inflicted as much damage as Darcy Graham, the sole survivor from the side that beat Samoa 34-0 last week.

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

The wing beat eight defenders and made 151 metres before he was wisely replaced by Townsend on 47 minutes. How Scotland will need his dancing feet against Japan.

"What the players have done since the Ireland game is all you can ask of them," Townsend said.

Scotland's fly-half Adam Hastings (C) is tackled. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images
Scotland's fly-half Adam Hastings (C) is tackled. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

"To beat Samoa 34-0, they've always been a difficult opponent for us and are a very good side."

Now their fate is in the lap of the gods.

Telegraph.co.uk

The Left Wing - RWC Daily: End of an era as Ireland say sayonara to World Cup

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport