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Scotland back on track but Townsend insists Ireland and Japan remain pool favourites


Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend says Japan and Ireland remain the favourites to progress to the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup out of Pool A, but that his side have given themselves "an opportunity" with this afternoon's 34-0 win against Samoa.

They bounced back from last week's dismal performance against Ireland tp pick up their first win, but it wasn't straight-forward, with plenty of errors in the hot and sticky indoor Kobe Misake Stadium.

First half tries for Sean Maitland and Greig Laidlaw, as well as a Stuart Hogg drop-goal, saw them go into the half time break 20-0 in front.

They secured the bonus point with two penalty tries after the break, while Samoa finished the game with 14 men after Ed Fidow was sent off for two yellow cards, each the result of a penalty try.

Samoa are the first team to be held scoreless at this year's tournament, it's also the first time they've ever failed to score in a World Cup game.

"That was a tough challenge to face, knowing that if we underperformed we were out of the World Cup. To see the effort and togetherness was excellent," said Scottish head coach Gregor Townsend.

"Last week we missed the beginning of the game and I take responsibility for not preparing the team well enough to start well against Ireland. But that didn’t make us a bad team. Tonight was great to see them get rewards for their effort.

"We’re still in the tournament, so that’s what the win means tonight," he added.

"The bonus point gives us an opportunity to go to our next game and aim to get maximum points in that game. If we do, it will be a game against Japan to go into the quarter-finals.

"Japan and Ireland still favourites to get out of the pool."

The 80 minutes were error-strewn on both sides, with the game being played at the same stadium where Ireland will line out against Russia on Thursday. Hooker Stuart McInally said the heat and humidity in the Kobe arena were extremely difficult to play in.

"It was tough. With the roof closed I was sweating at he start of the warm-up.

"The ball was slippy but it was the same for both teams so it was pleasing we managed to force a few errors from Samoa because of our pressure."

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