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Scotland v Russia: Scots to succeed in Shizuoka heat

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Scotland's 35-0 victory against Samoa wasn't as easy as the scoreline suggested but they should fair better here against Russia, says Matthew Hannay from our Pod Nations Predict team...

"It would be arrogant of Scotland to expect to simply turn up and bag the 5 points, especially given their track record versus so-called minnows in the past, yet this is clearly the minimum outcome demanded within camp."

Scotland v Russia
Wednesday, 08:15
Live on ITV1

Scotland can set up showdown with tournament hosts

After their opening day collapse at the hands of the Irish, Scotland got their World Cup campaign back on track with a comfortable victory against Samoa, and can now look forward to a first ever clash against Russia.

While the 35-0 defeat of Samoa looks decisive on paper, the match was an often tense affair with two late penalty tries taking the game away from the Pacific Islanders. Yet following the soul searching that accompanied that loss to Ireland, the victory here - with a bonus point to boot - was vital.

It is now all in Scotland's hands, albeit Japan's last minute try against Samoa has made their job a damn sight harder. Assuming Scotland can gain a bonus point victory over Russia, they will need to overcome Japan in their final group match by four clear tournament points to progress from Pool A as runners up.

It would be arrogant of Scotland to expect to simply turn up and bag the five points, especially given their track record versus so-called minnows in the past, yet this is clearly the minimum outcome demanded within camp. Although Townsend has rung the changes from Samoa, there is enough physicality and leadership in the pack to match the abrasive Russian forward effort and real quality in the backline, with a chance to unleash the likes of George Horne, Adam Hastings, Blair Kinghorn and Darcy Graham. The presence of veterans such as John Barclay and Duncan Taylor should ensure calm heads prevail in the Shizuoka heat.

Russia will no doubt present a real challenge - it took Ireland over an hour to secure the bonus point and they matched Japan and Samoa physically for large periods - and will look to their most experienced players, former Northampton winger and captain Vasily Artemyev and Sale second row Andrei Ostrikov, to guide them round the pitch.

Ultimately, however, Scotland should have enough quality to come through the test, get the four tries and set up a mouth watering clash versus Japan on Sunday. Scotland -33 seems the way to go.

Matthew Hannay,

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