Finn Russell Scotland vs Samoa, Rugby World Cup 2019: Five things we learned as Scotland get back on track

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Scotland got their World Cup campaign back on track with a comfortable 34-0 win over Samoa.

Gregor Townsend’s side secured a bonus point victory to keep the pressure on Ireland and Japan at the top of Pool A, keeping their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals alive.

With Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw impressively pulling the strings, and Darcy Graham and Sean Maitland providing real potency out wide, Scotland blew away the Pacific Islanders, defending superbly to keep Samoa without a point.

And the Samoans, without suspended duo Motu Matu’u and Rey Lee-Lo, continued to struggle with their discipline – Ed Fidow twice conceded penalty tries, with the Worcester-bound wing twice yellow-carded as a result and thus given his marching orders by referee Pascal Gauzere.

Here are five things we learned:

1. Scotland were hungry

In a must-win match, Scotland wasted no time imposing themselves on Samoa. The tempo in which Scotland started the game was demonstrated through Darcy Graham’s early break down the right which took the Scots deep into Samoa territory.

Although they only had three points for the opening half-hour, the pressure eventually told and the floodgates opened with Sean Maitland’s try.

2. Variety paid dividends

Finn Russell’s performance with both ball in hand and boot to ball, was Scotland’s greatest asset against Samoa.

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Always thinking one step ahead, Russell kept the game flowing with offloads early on before opening the game up with his kicks, one of which went cross-field for Maitland to gather and dot down.

Stuart Hogg added to this with great kicking play near the break which propelled Scotland back into the Samoa half before he drove a drop goal through the posts from range.

3. Samoa not clinical enough

Samoa looked a shadow of the side which dispatched Russia 34-9 in their opening World Cup game.

Scotland gained control of the game fairly easily and kept Samoa in a stranglehold throughout the match. Against Russia, Steve Jackson’s side looked energetic and inventive but the same couldn’t be said against the Scots who dominated at the set piece and in open play.

Finn Russell Finn Russell was typically influential and creative at fly-half (AFP/Getty Images)

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