Scotland have won all of their previous four matches against the United States, but each time by finer margins.
The way they put the game to South Africa, with very little fear, and at the end to turn down three points to draw the game was incredible. “We got exactly what we wanted against Japan, but we know the U.S. will come really hard at us”, the Warriors scrum-half said. “And that’s my mistake, so I have to get the selection right for the next game”, added Jones.
The games have been very entertaining and Japan’s victory against South Africa has certainly been the highlight for me so far.
Number eight David Pocock claimed two first-half tries from rolling mauls to lay the platform for the twice world champions and a try by prop Sekope Kepu soon after the break set them on course for a comfortable if not overly convincing win.
Of the players likely to kick at goal for Scotland, flyhalf Finn Russell has scored only two conversions for his country, while fullback Stuart Hogg has a solitary penalty to his name.
“On today’s evidence, it’s probably not possible to maintain that intensity from Saturday in four days”.
Cotter has also had to contend with injuries, with flanker John Hardie replaced by Ryan Wilson due to a head injury.
“We are a fit team”.
I can’t say I was expecting them to win but I definitely knew how well organised they would be as I had two years playing for their coach Eddie Jones at Saracens. “We just weren’t good enough”.
But skipper Greig Laidlaw saw the tide turn just before half-time when Seymour was only kept out by a last-gasp Ayumu Goromaru tackle. I take full responsibility for the defeat and performance. We trust them completely.
Scotland’s Kiwi head coach Vern Cotter said: ‘Hats off to Japan. “Just hold the ball”.
“We are the sort of side that plays high-risk rugby so we have to accept that from time to time”.
“They pride themselves on their physical approach”.
He said: “It was good to start off with a win”. “We were nervous at the start”. We watched that and we had absolutely no complacency in our squad’.
“But the main thing was to always keep the focus on ourselves and what we do”.
But having avoided a potentially unsafe banana skin, hopes have been raised that they can now go on to challenge the Boks for top spot in their group. Japan though have played once more than the others.
Jones, who moves on to take over South African Super Rugby side Western Stormers after the World Cup, said he had made mistakes for the Scotland game.
As for his side’s own quarter-final ambitions, he said: “It comes down to Samoa in 10 days”. If we don’t we have no chance. The U.S. Eagles began its campaign in disappointing fashion this past weekend when falling 25-16 to Samoa.