By John GeddieScotland brought Japan’s dream Rugby World Cup start back down to earth on Wednesday as they ran in five second-half tries for a 45-10 win over the Brave Blossoms who were clearly tiring after their epic victory against the Springboks.Playing at his club’s home ground of Kingsholm, Gloucester, the ever-reliable boot of Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw nudged the Scots to a half-time lead of 12-7, before the game opened up and Scotland’s backs started to run riot.In the early exchanges, Scotland stuck to a clear game plan, kicking the ball deep into Japan’s territory, and it paid off with scrum-half Laidlaw kicking Scotland six points up within the first 10 minutes.But it was Japan that got the first try, against the run of play, when a textbook driving maul from a lineout allowed number eight Amanaki Mafi to crash over. Veteran full-back Ayumu Goromaru added the extras to put Japan narrowly in front.It proved to be a short-lived lead with the Laidlaw’s kicking punishing Japanese errors, one in which winger Kotaro Matsushima was sent to the sin bin for a ripping the ball illegally from winger Sean Lamont, as they led 12-7 at the break.Two barnstorming runs by the hulking Mafi rattled the Scots when play resumed, and it was a real blow for the Japanese when he was taken off injured but a penalty by Goromaru closed the game to 12-10The Scots regained composure and a neat inside pass sent Lamont scything through. Centre Matt Scott was hauled down just before the line and from the resulting ruck flanker John Hardie, playing in only his third game for Scotland, got over in the corner.The Scots’ attack then started firing against a Japanese side clearly exhausted from their 34-32 victory over twice-winners South Africa on Saturday.Full-back Stuart Hogg danced through the line to open the way for centre Mark Bennett to cross for Scotland’s second and the game was settled when Seymour caught an interception and ran the length of the pitch to score.Bennett then sidestepped his way through to grab a bonus-point-securing fourth s and Russell, who had been an attacking threat all day, rounded off a satisfying day with the fifth.“Happy days with that result – but that is just the start hopefully for this team,” said Laidlaw.“We talked at length about playing for 80 minutes and we have done that today. I thought we were outstanding for the duration. They said if they were in the game at half-time they could take us, so we were determined and outstanding.“Credit to Japan though, they were awesome against South Africa and really tough opponents again today. That win against South Africa blew the group wide open and meant it was important for us to win today.”Scotland top the Pool B standings with five points, to the four of Samoa and Japan with South Africa on two and the United States pointless.
Five-try Scots see off giant-killers Japan