RWC 2019: Five talking points ahead of Scotland v Samoa

Well, this is a big game isn’t it!

After Scotland’s false start in the opener with Ireland last Sunday and then Japan’s stunning win over Ireland this weekend Pool A is wide open, but Gregor Townsend’s men know they likely need three wins from three to progress to the knock-out stages.

The first of those is against Samoa on Monday.

Five talking points

Can Scotland show their true selves?

 There is no doubt about it, the Ireland match was one of the most disappointing Scottish performances in a long time.

The Irish were in control from minute one and Scotland never fired a shot. The coaches and the players will have been hurting this week and there has been a lot of talk, but now the talking has to be done on the pitch.

Pack have to be ready for a physical battle

A lot has been made about the two high tackles in Samoa’s first game against Russia which resulted in subsequent suspensions.

That outcome will mean that the Samoans will have been working hard on their tackle technique this week, but don’t expect them to be taking any backward steps.

The Scottish pack must front up to the challenge from the first minute.

Big chance for Bradbury, Ritchie and Thomson

With Hamish Watson having returned home injured and John Barclay and Ryan Wilson not having their best games against Ireland, a new back-row trio has been selected.

Magnus Bradbury was excellent in the second half against England at Twickenham in March while Jamie Ritchie was a standout performer in the Six Nations and Blade Thomson has shown glimpse of his ball carrying ability.

They will have a busy day against Samoa and will be crucial to the outcome.

Chris keen to impress

All the talk before the tournament was about the centres that had missed out on the squad as well as about the first choice pairing of Sam Johnson and Duncan Taylor.

The centres didn’t really get going against Ireland and now Johnson is paired up with Chris Harris in the midfield for this one.

The head coach loves Harris’ awareness in defence and he will be a key player in this one.

Can Hogg find space?

In his last few Test matches Stuart Hogg has cut quite a frustrated figure while he has talked about teams ‘double teaming’ him when he is attacking.

As a result the full-back is having to look harder than ever to find space with ball in hand, but you just feel he is ready to get back to scoring ways soon.

All Scots will hope it is on Monday in Kobe…

Scotland v Samoa takes place at the Kobe Misaki Stadium on Monday September 30 (kick-off 11.15am BST, 7.15pm local time) – live on ITV

Main photo by David Gibson/Fotosport

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