Townsend and McInally on Samoa win

Townsend and McInally on Samoa win

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend and captain Stuart McInally give their verdict on the national team's vital, four-try bonus-point win over Samoa in Kobe.

Head Coach Gregor Townsend

How much did the win say about the team’s character?

“Going into the game, just to win and have a better performance was the target. Anything extra would have been an exceptional performance, and that’s what it was, especially in that first half.

“That was a true reflection of who we are and what we are capable of, what playing for Scotland means for all the players. That was a tough challenge we had to face, knowing if we didn’t perform tonight we would be out of the World Cup.

“Last week we did miss the start of the game and I take responsibility for not preparing the team well enough to start well against Ireland. But that doesn’t make us a bad team and it was great to see them get the reward for all that effort.”

What were the differences between Scotland’s second-half performance and the first:

“We tried to build on what we did in the first-half. The first half was excellent in terms of how we defended, the pressure we built through the kicking game and also the set-piece.

“Second half we didn’t start as well. We were a bit loose in that first 10 minutes but the pressure told in the end and I’m really pleased with the work rate of our team.”

Wing Sean Maitland celebrates scoring Scotland’s opening try – the product of a sublime Finn Russell cross-field kick

How important was the bonus-point?

“We would have been disappointed if we hadn’t picked up [the bonus point], having scored three tries with 10-15 minutes to go.

“We’re all delighted to get that bonus point – we’ve two games to go and if we play like we did tonight and improve a couple more aspects we’ll very much be in this World Cup.

“We’ve got Russia first, then we’ve got a pretty tight turnaround to play Japan – I think everybody in our pool has a tight turnaround to play Japan – so it’s a 10-day preparation for two games.

“Some of the players will need a rest. We’re going to give them two or three days off: they deserve it after their efforts tonight.”

How pleased were you that the team dug deep to keep Samoa scoreless:

“Credit to the players and defence coach Matt Taylor, who has done a fantastic job. They defended with real passion tonight, they got off the line and made some big hits on some big men.

“They are a very dangerous team and still caused us some problems right at the end, but the defence throughout the game was outstanding.”

Back-row Jamie Ritchie breaks through

You changed the entire back-row. How pleased were you with the outcome?

“I thought Jamie Ritchie had an outstanding game. He could have missed the World Cup with a broken cheekbone but to come back from surgery and play like he did tonight shows what an exceptional player he is, but also his character.

“Magnus [Bradbury] gave us really good go-forward, he hit hard in the tackle and fronted up physically against some big men.

“Blade [Thomson], like he has done so far for us in his Scotland career, did the little things really well. He made good decisions, technically he was very good at the lineout and restarts, and he linked well with the backs. But I was pleased with the whole pack. The front five worked very hard.”

How would you sum up Scotland’s chances of getting out of the group?

“We are still in the tournament, that is what this win means. The bonus point gives us the opportunity to go into the next game and aim to get maximum points in that game. If we do that, it will be a game against Japan to see who goes into the quarter-finals.

“Japan and Ireland are still favourites. We have to win our next two games and pick up at least one bonus point or two.”

How good was fullback Stuart Hogg?

“He is over the moon with his drop goal. He has been practising them in training and so he is quite pleased with that. He is a real team man. You can see the power and pace in his game and his general kicking and ability to put others into space.

“He is maturing into an all-round player that can help the team win in different ways.”

​Captain Stuart McInally

“It was important that we had a reaction after last week. They started very well, it’s always a very tough game against Samoa too. I was pleased with the performance, I was pleased with how they started. It was great to get a win.

“A massive thanks to all the Scottish fans who are here today and everybody supporting us and back home as well, for sticking with us after last week.”

“They were really tough conditions. We came out for the warm up, I hadn’t even done anything and I was starting to sweat. It was tough and the ball was slippy but it was the same for both teams.

“We managed to get a few errors out of the Samoan defence which helped us right up until the end.”

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