Scotland brought Japan’s dream Rugby World Cup start back down to earth on Wednesday as they ran in five second-half tries for a 45-10 win over the fearless Blossoms who were clearly tiring after their epic victory against the Springboks.
Scotland head coach Vern Cotter believes Japan only showed 80 per cent of their capabilities against the Springboks and lock Grant Gilchrist warned that even if Scotland knew exactly what was contained in Jones’ game-plan, that might not be enough to save his side.
South Africa’s 34-32 loss to Japan in Brighton on Saturday sent shock waves through the rugby world and left the Boks scurrying for positives.
Just four days after their historic win over South Africa, Japan appeared to run out of gas as they let in five second half tries to the Scots.
Scotland assistant coach Matt Taylor said Japan moving above them in the world rankings on Monday made no difference – the Japanese are 11th and the Scots 12th.
“If you watch the game (against South Africa) there’s certain things that I think they come up with and, if you closely watch, I think Japan was better under pressure in the scrums”, said Nel.
“Second half we managed to get over the try line to give us a bonus point, which we’re very, very happy with. We’re not using that as an excuse”. We must be prepared not only for ruck time but collisions in defence and attack. They said if they were in game at halftime they could take us, so we were determined and outstanding.
“We will be concentrating on playing from the first minute”.
“I thought we traded blows in the first half”.
“If we can knock Samoa off in 10 days then we have a terrrific chance, if we don’t then we’re cooked”, said Jones. “So we will go into it with an open mind and adjust on the back of what we feel has happened and how the flow of the game is going. We should be able to put out a good team against them”.
Laidlaw quickly restored Scotland’s advantage with another pair of penalties before Japan had wing Kotaro Matsushima sin-binned for an illegal steal.
That was probably the point when not only Scotland, but Samoa and South Africa too, began to breathe more easily.
“They will come in absolutely 100 percent. They got into our 22, they took the opportunities”, he said.
Scotland now face a quick turnaround for their next match – against the United States in Leeds in Sunday – and Cotter hinted that he may need to rest some personnel to keep his team fresh.