Scotland creating storm of their own after whirlwind performance against Russia

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From Tom English
BBC Scotland
In the wake of Scotland victory over Russia, the press room at the Shizuoka Stadium morphed to a convention for meteorologists, a location where Typhoon Hagibis got a whole lot than Hurricane Horne.
The storm raging throughout the Pacific Ocean attracted chat compared to scrum-halfs hat-trick. When people spoke of things and intensity going with astonishing rate they were not speaking about Scotlands forwards package or Darcy Grahams excellence, they were about the gathering menace that is Hagibis and the impact it might have on the great showdown between Scotland and Japan in Yokohama on Sunday.
Rumour was followed by rumour. Theory followed theory. 1 chap was crouched within an app that seemed to be monitoring Hagibis like one. It appears like its approaching Guam, he said. Saipan next. They have announced an emergency. It was surreal.
Scotland so were two idle passes from adding the following 10 or even 14 points to that total and conquer Russia 61-0. George Horne got three attempts but it might have been just four. Adam Hastings obtained two tries but it might have been three. The story of the night was the confusion, although the young half-backs were excellent. Hagibis is still days away from the Japan mainland but already its causing mayhem.
The Scottish management said nothing, possibly because they knew something but were sworn to silence by World Rugby or because they knew nothing. Will the game go ahead on Sunday as planned? No comment. Can it be moved to Monday? It would be wrong to speculate. Can it be moved to another city? There are a selection of contingencies. Will it be abandoned entirely ensuring Scotland are out of the World Cup? There will be a statement on Thursday.
Scotland supporters left Shizuoka at a joyous old country but for people planning to kick-on to get Yokohama this lack of clarity was tough. There was no one around to lose any daylight on which was going on. Japan promised that and a exceptional World Cups what weve obtained. Gregor Townsend spent part of his press conference speaking about this violent, near-biblical tempest. You do not hear that kind of chat.
On the field, Scotland got the job and a great deal of professionalism. They hit Russia ancient, then hit them kept hitting them pretty much all the way to the finish. Because this was a game too far for them you felt to the underdogs. They were out in their feet from early on. Having Scotland running at them must have been torture. They just didnt have the energy to push the tide .
Scotland nilled Russia just like they nilled Samoa in Kobe. We are not talking high calibre opposition here but maintaining any competitor scoreless is a badge of honour to your professional rugby player. Talking afterwards, it was the nine tries they talked about, it had been the shut-out. That meant as far as some of the dozens that they generated.
That type of thing assembles self-belief, it adds momentum, so it produces a joy from the squad that they take into the Japan game in the event the group that plays is radically different to the one that conquer Russia. Townsend made 14 adjustments and he is very likely to undo them. Graham is very likely to be the only person who retains his place.
Townsend doesnt have significant problems in his teams choice, but his bench might alter. Pete Horne might not have played with a minute of this World Cup but he had been powerful and might squeeze to the 23 ahead.
In case Horne makes it – covering centre and also fly-half – there might be a thought given to earning Blair Kinghorns X-factor well. He has that game-breaking quality, which knack of getting in behind and busting a defence although kinghorn had errors in his game against Russia.
It may indicate that Hastings sheds out – cruel if that is the case given his stellar performance against Russia – but Kinghorn is also versatile. He has been devastating in both positions sometimes and could play with wing and full-back. Kinghorn would be a useful citizen to 22, if Scotland are in need of a try on against Japan. His own replacements make-up would give him something to consider, although townsend doesnt have a lot to contemplate in his own 23.
Horne the younger is just one of those that will return to the bench for the Japan match, but hes coming of age in this tournament. After his hat-trick he has six tries on his nine appearances for Scotland. Thats an attempt in 66% of the Tests he has played. Together with Glasgow, he has 22 attempts in 42 games – a try in 52 percent of his matches, a greater percentage than anybody.
For club and country he has 28 tries in 51 games – an astonishing strike-rate. Horne wont launch against Japan, but he still remains a weapon off the bench. Hes like a truffle dog with all his ability to sniff outside opportunities. Time was once the creators-in-chief of Scotland largely finished with Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg and started, but now theres a humor variable in this squad.
Horne has magical in him so has Graham. Theres a serious soccer player in the marketplace although we have not seen the very best of Kinghorn. Magnus Bradbury got some more game-time to him against Russia. He is becoming a towering presence within this set-up now although jamie Ritchie wasnt needed. There looks to be a shifting of the guard these past few weeks.
Townsend planned this World Cup with the depth of a man preparing to launch a rocket, but look whats happened. His midfield of 2 weeks ago has now been divided, Chris Harris. Tommy Seymour played before Graham against Ireland but Graham is now undroppable.
Late Septembers go-to back-row has been Ryan Wilson, John Barclay and Hamish Watson. That is all gone. Now its become Bradbury, Blade Ritchie and Thomson. Those three and one aggressive match have just played and have it all to establish, but theyre an exciting group capable of moving toe-to-toe with Japan, that have a row of their own.
The speculation about the sport – where and if and maybe if it is going to happen – will continue until Thursday when their telephone will be made by World Rugby. Lets cross our fingers and hope the rugby gods defeat the weather gods and this match goes in a stadium of color and sound and at the kind of atmosphere that befits what should be an occasion.

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