GIVEN that Scotland only had a few days to recover from Wednesday’s match against Japan, United States coach Mike Tolkin was probably banking on Vern Cotter’s team tiring as yesterday’s fixture progressed.
In the end, Tolkin was instead full of praise for Scotland’s second-half display as they recovered from a 13-6 half-time deficit to post a 39-16 win.
The Eagles went in at the break in front thanks to a close-range try from tighthead prop Titi Lamositele and the boot of in-form stand-off AJ MacGinty. But after the turnaround Scotland found top gear and ran in five tries to go top of Pool B.
“Credit to Scotland in the second half,” said Tolkin. “For a team which is tired and which played four days ago, they came out with a lot of energy in the second half when the game was in the balance.
“From our standpoint, in the first half we got momentum, playing direct, and we went in with the lead. We knew it was important to come out of the clubhouse and establish ourselves and to get territory, but the opposite happened and, after that, we seemed to be constantly playing from penalties or playing from out of our own end and it became difficult and frustrating with dropped balls at key moments. Any momentum we had was stopped and we played a lot from deep.”
On the USA’s performance in the World Cup so far, Tolkin lamented his side’s hot-and-cold form as being their downfall. “We’ve been inconsistent,” he added. “We’ve had some flashes of very good play, some dominant play and physicality both on defence and attack and had injections of adrenaline. But at some parts we’ve made technical errors and had a lack of discipline.
“A lot of these guys don’t play the grind of a professional season with a hard game week in week out. So for some of our guys it’s a real challenge and it’s something that we have got to overcome.”
USA captain Chris Wyles admitted the Scots deserved yesterday’s win. “We simply weren’t good enough,” he said.