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George Horne bags hat-trick as Scotland thrash Russia to set up Japan showdown

With a bonus point wrapped inside 46 minutes, this was very much job done for the second-string Scotland side. Now the real task lies in wait against Japan in Yokohama on Sunday with a quarter-final place on the line. 

The equation is relatively straightforward for Gregor Townsend’s team. They must take at least four more match points than the hosts to reach the knockout stages – either 4-0 or 5-1 – and this performance will considerably swell their confidence of achieving that task. 

As sloppy as Russia were, Scotland were brutally clinical. Fly half Adam Hastings scored 26 points, including two tries, while half back partner George Horne registered a hat-trick of tries. For a team that had proved such obdurate opponents for Ireland and Scotland, Russia were sliced apart by Scotland with surprising ease.

No player inflicted as much damage as Darcy Graham, the sole survivor from the side that beat Samoa 34-0 last week. The wing beat eight defenders and made 151 metres before he was wisely replaced by Townsend on 47 minutes. How Scotland will need his dancing feet against Japan.

Just as encouraging was a second successive shutout, a feat that was probably last achieved in the Edwardian era. They missed just three tackles on the night, a far cry from the defensive horror show of their 27-3 defeat against Ireland. Of course, Japan will represent a considerable step up in class but from Townsend’s perspective as a final tune-up this could not have gone any better.

The opening try was straight off the training ground. After winning a scrum penalty in the Russian 22, Scotland opted for another scrum. Ryan Wilson picked up from the base, fed George Horne and with the Russian defence transfixed by Duncan Taylor’s line, Hastings was able to glide between three would-be tacklers.

If that score was soft then their next two scores were gifts, complete with ribbons. Seizing on a loose ball, Graham found Hastings who recognising a lack of backfield kicked ahead. The fly half easily outpaced flanker Tagir Gadzhiev before Vasily Artemyev horribly misjudged the bounce of the ball in his own in-goal area.

Worse was to come for the Russians on 21 minutes. Winning lineout ball just in front of their own tryline, scrum half Dmitry Perov’s long pass was easily picked off by George Horne. The Russians had taken an AK47 to both feet. 

The upshot was that Townsend’s team had 59 minutes to find that crucial fourth try. Maybe that bred a sense of complacency as Scotland’s play suddenly became sloppy in the second quarter, not least when George Horne knocked on with Scotland camped on the Russian tryline. Like Ireland, Scotland had to settle for a 21-0 halftime lead. 

Still they would not have to wait long for the bonus point and once again Russia were their own worst enemies. Perov’s box kick was too long, the kick-chase was too ragged and Graham was too electric. The wing stepped and slided his way past several defenders before unselfishly providing the scoring pas to Horne. 

From thereon in, Scotland appeared able to score at will. Hooker George Turner spun off the back of a maul to go over before wing Tommy Seymour latched on to Blair Kinghorn’s perfectly weighted kick. 

Horne got his third, benefiting from strong work by replacement Henry Pyrgos before John Barclay strolled past German Davydov who clearly did not fancy tackling the Scotland captain. The final flourish was added by replacement hooker Stuart McInally who finished a free-flowing counter-attack. 

The only slight disappointment was Hastings’ own third try was correctly ruled out for a forward pass, but that could not take the sheen off a polished performance. Now the real business can begin.


Farewell, Vasily Artemyev


“To be honest we were a bit nervous coming into the game”

 John Barclay says that Scotland had a lot of fun out there. It certainly looked that way.


Sums it up


Full-time | Scotland 61 Russia 0

Patient, decisive, measured from Scotland. They could not have hoped for much more to set up this weekend against the hosts. What a game that will be. 



Hastings thinks he has a third as well! However, another TMO check spoils the fun. Tommy Seymour’s inside pass was forward.

 That will be that.


Try, Stuart McInally! Scotland 61 Russia 0, 78 minutes

That’s the pick of the bunch. Duncan Taylor slings a long pass out wide and gets a return offload back on the inside from Kinghorn. Scotland cross the 22 and Hastings lobs another long one out to McInally. The ball bounces but the try is good…

…or is it? We have a TMO check for a foot in touch. It’s all fine. Hastings’ fantastic kicking night continues with a touchline conversion.


Try, John Barclay! Scotland 54 Russia 0, 75 minutes

Number eight for Scotland. Back-rower Barclay ambles under the posts after taking a neat, flat pass from Berghan and beating Russia’s cover defence with a neat dummy. Hastings adds two more.


Scotland 47 Russia 0, 72 minutes 

Shoulder-charge from Russia’s replacement prop Azamat Bitiev on Adam Hastings.

 It’s a penalty, and Hastings hits the corner. Stuart McInally’s throw is really wonky, though. Scrum to Russia.


Scotland 47 Russia 0, 70 minutes

Scotland force a scrum penalty. They’ll go down-town. 


Scotland will want to keep Russia on zero


Scotland 47 Russia 0, 67 minutes  

Good little spell for Russia, which ends with a breakdown penalty as tackler Ryan Wilson fails to roll away. They kick to the corner. Tagir Gadzhiev has kept going all tournament. 

Ah. The throw is not straight. Scrum to Scotland.


Scotland 47 Russia 0, 65 minutes 

The changes are coming thick and fast, now. Gaisan heads off for Russia. It’s a head injury assessment, I think.


Television match offical

George Horne is over for a FOURTH. WP Nel made a beautiful break through the middle and threw a gorgeous sort of loop-the-loop pass. Magnus Bradbury then released Horne..will it count, though? No.

 Bradbury’s pass went forward.


Match action

Tommy Seymour’s try, Scotland’s sixth, here:


Try, George Horne! Scotland 47 Russia 0, 58 minutes

It’s a procession now, and Horne junior has a hat-trick! Pyrgos made the initial break and his fellow scrum-half followed up for a treble. Hastings misses. However, with 20 minutes remaining, he will probably get another go.


Try, Tommy Seymour! Scotland 42 Russia 0, 56 minutes

Scotland are stretching clear and Russia look extremely tired. Kinghorn’s dink down the right is acrobatically pounced upon by Seymour. That’s the wing’s first try of the tournament. He’s been fairly quiet amid the carnage this evening. 

Hastings converts brilliantly from the touchline.


Try, George Turner! Scotland 35 Russia 0, 51 minuites

It’s a runaway maul and Russia look broken now. Hooker Turner, busy throughout this game, breaks away and scores. Hastings flirts with the left-hand post but converts to take his personal tally to 20 points.


Scotland 28 Russia 0, 49 minutes

Scotland are after number five now…but Kinghorn’s offload towards Seymour sails into touch. Darcy Graham has headed off, by the way, with Henry Pyrgos coming on and George Horne moving to the wing.


An epic awaits


Try, George Horne! Scotland 28 Russia 0, 44 minutes

Horne junior has a second, Scotland have a fourth. But that is all about Darcy Graham. Russia scrum-half Dmitry Perov box-kicks but the ball travels too long and Graham has room to run it back, which he does so brilliantly.

The peroxide-blonde wing tears 50 metres up-field, beating four defenders and feeding a supporting Horne. Hastings converts.


Scotland 21 Russia 0, 41 minutes 

Neat play from Russia. Artemyev hits the line on their left before they swing the ball back to the right and Gaisin kicks into touch via one bounce. Scotland will have to build from a lineout inside their own 22.


Second half

Off we go again. Can Scotland secure the bonus point and pull away? Simon Berhan has replaced Zander Fagerson at tighthead prop. 

Blair Kinghorn takes the reatart, which does not go 10 metres. Poor start. Scrum to Russia.


There have been a few “нет”s from Wayne Barnes


Hagibis update


Half-time | Scotland 21 Russia 0

Frustration for Scotland. They pound away at the Russia line before George Horne dummies and darts…and knocks-on. Wayne Barnes blows up.


Scotland 21 Russia 0, 38 minutes    

Good lineout defence from Scotland earns a scrum on the Russia 22. It’s another good launchpad.


Scotland 21 Russia 0, 37 minutes   

Bit of a scrappy period. Hastings finds a bit of space after gathering his own chip but is then bundled into touch.


Match action

As Peter Horne spills, here is his younger brother’s try.


Scotland 21 Russia 0, 32 minutes  

Another clever kick, this time from George Horne. Russia control the ball under pressure from Tommy Seymour and Gaisin clears into touch but it Scotland’s maul is eating up ground…


Scotland 21 Russia 0, 30 minutes 

This is such a patient performance from Scotland. They are kicking really well, plugging the corners and waiting for Russia to give them opportunities. 

Interesting change here. Fraser Brown is off, with Magnus Bradbury. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with Brown. 


Scotland 21 Russia 0, 26 minutes

Everything is breaking for Scotland here. First they force a turnover on the deck and then Peter Horne’s left-footed kick bounces into touch around six metres from Russia’s line.


Match action

Here’s Adam Hastings’ first try…

 …and here’s his second:


Try, George Horne! Scotland 21 Russia 0, 23 minutes

That’s so clever from George Horne. Russia take the lineout and attempt to spin a pass into midfield but Horne scampers through to intercept and dot down. Hastings converts. One more for the bonus point. Already.


Scotland 14 Russia 0, 21 minutes

Slick from Scotland. They go through three swift phases following a scrum and then Hastings clips a kick into touch via a skidding bounce.


Try, Adam Hastings! Scotland 14 Russia 0, 18 minutes

Two for Scotland, two for Hastings. A loose exchange sees Russia attempt to move the ball right before their wing German Davydov spills. Graham gathers and finds Hastings, who chips ahead and beats covering back-rower Tagir Gadzhiev to hack through.

Artemyev scrambles across but is foxed by the bounce and Hastings has a double!

 The conversion is good as well.


Scotland 7 Russia 0, 17 minutes

Good reply from Russia. They run back Scotland’s clearance from the restart and earn a breakdown penalty. They kick to touch but then spill inside Scotland’s 22 and their opponents run it back…


Try, Adam Hastings! Scotland 7 Russia 0, 15 minutes

That’s a sweet finish from Scotland’s young fly half. The ball is moved right through George Horne and Hastings dummies, slipping inside one tackle and powering through another to score. He converts and Scotland are on the way.


Scotland 0 Russia 0, 12 minutes      

A good moment from Scotland’s pack. Their counter-shove ruins Russia’s platform and Nikita Vavilin knocks on at the base. It’ll be a scrum to Townsend’s side in a very dangerous position.


Match action

Peter Horne has been prominent early on.


Scotland 0 Russia 0, 11 minutes     

Graham is collared high and Scotland kick the penalty into touch inside Russia’s 22…they maul but then a strike-move goes awry. Peter Horne did not gather cleanly and then rushed a pass to Graham. Slightly messy start.


Scotland 0 Russia 0, 9 minutes    

Russia win a free-kick and centre Ostroushko gets another carry. Then there is some kick-tennis. Eventually, Adam Hastings’ kick dribbles into the dead-ball area and Gaisan dots down. He takes the 22 drop-out too, and Graham runs the ball back. 


Scotland 0 Russia 0, 7 minutes   

Graham has his hands on the ball again and beats a tackle but spills. The first scrum of the game will be fed by Russia.


Scotland 0 Russia 0, 5 minutes  

A lung-busting start ends with a bit of a silly penalty. Duncan Taylor grubbers ahead but Gaisin gathers and Zander Fagerson kicks through the ruck. That’s illegal. Penalty to Russia.


Scotland 0 Russia 0, 4 minutes 

Scotland stand firm for 16 phases, pushing Russia back towards halfway. At that point, Gaisan goes to the air but their opponents gather and spread the ball nicely. Peter Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Fraser Brown, in the back row today, combine to send Darcy Graham scampering down the flank.


Scotland 0 Russia 0, 2 minutes

Promising stuff from Russia early on. They win back a high kick on their right before coming left, where flanker Tagir Gadzhiev links with centre Vladimir Ostroushko.



Away we go then! Wayne Barnes blasts his whistle and Ramil Gaisin strikes down into Scotland’s 22 where Ryan Wilson gathers. George Horne kicks down to Artemyev and Russia run it back.


More fancy dress

This guy is in attendance today. Wow.


Loud and proud

Russia captain Vasily Artemyev has been a cult hero of this tournament.

 In the middle there is Scotland scrum-half George Horne. He is a superb player. 


Players out

Here they come to the sound of drums. Anthems next.


Atmosphere building


“Since the draw was made, we’ve had an eye on this game”

Gregor Townsend says that the majority of this side faced Georgia in the second warm-up Test and is capable of scoring four tries.

He also insists that Scotland will need to be patient against a Russia team that kicks more than any other team in the tournament.


Scene setter

Shizuoka is a lovely spot. Just 10 minutes until kick-off.


Huddling up

The players are just going through their final warm-ups. Before they started, Gregor Townsend led Scotland a firm discussion out on the field.


Twenty minutes until kick-off

You have time to check out how Scotland went against Samoa…

…and how Russia did during a hard-fought loss to Ireland:



Russia’s defensive efforts have been gradually improving. Follow Russ for more insights like this. He’s excellent.


As it stands

With three Pool A fixtures to come, this is how things stand. Courtesy of that defeat by Ireland, Scotland have been playing catch-up.




Blair Kinghorn, Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor, Pete Horne, Darcy Graham, Adam Hastings, George Horne; Gordon Reid, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Ben Toolis,  John Barclay (captain), Fraser Brown, Ryan Wilson
Reserves: Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan, Willem Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Henry Pyrgos, Chris Harris


Vasily Artemyev (captain), German Davydov, Vladimir Ostroushko, Dmitry Gerasimov, Vladislav Sozonov, Ramil Gaisin, Dmitry Perov; Valery Morozov, Stanislav Selskii, Kirill Gotovtsev, Andrey Ostrikov, Evgeny Elgin, Vitaly Zhivatov, Tagir Gadzhiev, Nikita Vavilin
Reserves: Sergey Chernyshev, Azamat Bitiev, Vladimir Podrezov, Bogdan Fedotko, Andrey Garbuzov, Sergey Ianiushkin, Anton Sychev, Yury Kushnarev


Who is this man supporting do you think?


Referee replacement

Mathieu Raynal was supposed to be overseeing this game. He has been struck down by illness, so Wayne Barnes is taking over.

Credit: World Rugby 

 There he is with captains John Barclay and Vasily Artemyev.



Hello and welcome to our live text commentary of Scotland’s penultimate Pool A game against Russia in Shizuoka.

Gregor Townsend’s side must win, and score four tries, to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

On Sunday, after a quick turnaround, they face hosts Japan in what could be a straight shootout for a quarter-final berth. Before that, though, Scotland have a very important job to do.

And Townsend knows that his players cannot get ahead of themselves at such an important juncture. Here are some highlights from his press conference a couple of days ago:

“Russia have gained in confidence, they look a fit team. The have obviously worked on their fitness. They have kept on going the longer the tournament has gone on.

“They were leading at half-time against Samoa, they were just trailing against Japan and they had 90 per cent tackle completion against Ireland. They have a very good scrum and an excellent kicking game.”

“I thought the 10 [Ramil Gaisin] who played against Ireland was outstanding in his kicking. Seven [Tagir Gadzhiev] and eight [Nikita Vavilin] are also excellent players, while the tight-head [Kirill Gotovtsev] is one of the players of the tournament in the scrum. 

“They will put everything into this. It’s their last game, their last for four years in a World Cup or longer if they do not qualify. We are expecting as good a performance as they gave against Ireland, maybe even a level up.”

Meanwhile, Russia head coach Lyn Jones explained his own selections. After three losses from three matches, he is eager to see an “exciting” contest to finish off the campaign:

“It’s four changes from the Japan game. I think we must be the only team with a clean bill of health. I wanted us to give as many experiences to our players as possible without harming the performance levels.

“I am very comfortable with our team selection, we are good enough to create a really exciting match. We appreciate where Scotland are in the group, and we know that every player must give everything he has to perform and to compete as best as we can.”

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