Rugby World Cup: Scotland win restores belief – leader comment

Scotland's Stuart Hogg kicks a drop goal during the Rugby World Cup game against Samoa in Kobe (Picture: Ichiro Sakano/Kyodo News via AP)
Scotland's Stuart Hogg kicks a drop goal during the Rugby World Cup game against Samoa in Kobe (Picture: Ichiro Sakano/Kyodo News via AP)
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After Scotland 34-0 World Cup victory against Samoa, the national side must see off Russia in style to set up a mouth-watering decider against hosts Japan.

When did you breathe a sigh of relief? The second try, Stuart Hogg’s magnificient drop goal, or did you wait right until the final whistle?

After the disappointment of the Ireland defeat, the 34-0 win against Samoa – a good team or, in the words of Gregor Townsend, “a very good team” – showed what Scotland are truly capable of.

It was premature to talk of a bonus point win against Samoa, but having secured it, it is not at all premature to do so in relation to the Russia game. Scotland expects, demands even, anything less hardly bears contemplating.

READ MORE: Allan Massie: Scotland were in ‘they shall not breach our wall’ mood against Samoa

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That would likely set up a showdown with the hosts Japan, rampant after their extraordinary defeat of Ireland, with a number of bonus-point permutations that mean Scotland could go out even if they win.

The bonus point system has its critics, but it could mean the game remains on a knife-edge until the final whistle. In those fevered conditions, the team that keeps its head is more likely to prevail.

Japan will be fired up by their wonderful supporters so Scotland will need to be at their very best.

But they, and we, should have faith in their ability. They can do it. Believe.

READ MORE: Scotland 34 Samoa 0: Stuart Hogg “over the moon” with sensational long-range drop goal

READ MORE: Rugby World Cup: How the Scotland players rated in bonus-point win over Samoa