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Scotland thrash Japan at rugby World Cup
There were no giant-killing heroics for Japan in their second match of the rugby World Cup. The team which had shocked South Africa with a 34-32 win on Saturday were reminded of their place in the hierarchy by Scotland. There were wins too for Australia and France over Fiji and Romania respectively.
Japan were unable to repeat their opening match heroics in their second game of the rugby World Cup against Scotland on Wednesday night at Kingsholm in Gloucester.
After snatching the unlikeliest of victories against two time champions South Africa on Saturday, the Japanese had lost their element of surprise and were thrashed 45-10.
The putative smaller teams fared badly on the sixth day of the competition. In Pool A Australia beat Fiji 28-13 and in Pool D France eased past Romania 38-11 for their second win of the tournament.
The Japanese went into their Pool B clash with real belief that they could overcome the Scots and take a big step towards securing a quarter-final berth.
Scotland coach Vern Cotter said defence in the first half was the key to deflating the side which had mercilessly attacked South Africa.
"I wouldn't say it was convincing," said Cotter after the game. "We managed to score points in the second half but I thought I thought we traded blows in the first-half.
"But in the second half we managed to get over the try line and get a bonus point which we are very happy to do. The Japanese are a good side."
Leading 12-7 at the pause, Cotter's men racked up 33 points in the second half as the Japanese appeared to pay for their lungbursting efforts in the win over South Africa.
Cotter admitted the Scottish had been focusing on Japan for more than two months.
"We are very happy to get the win and get started," he said. "Watching the other sides play has been a bit nervewracking, especially the Japanese win over South Africa."
Fiji slumped to their second loss of the competition despite a spirited show at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
"We saw that Fiji are a solid, very strong team who play with a lot of speed," said Australian back Matt Giteau.
"It was our first game and it was tough. As for the bonus point, it's not a problem. If we win all our matches, we'll finish first."
Giteau was one of the overseas-based players allowed into the squad following a change of heart by the Australian Rugby Union that saw them relax their eligibility rules for international selection.
Australia coach Michael Cheika said he was glad of the new policy which had allowed him to select Giteau along with Drew Mitchell, Dean Mumm and Kane Douglas.*
"It has given us a little bit of extra depth. It makes competition for places stronger and I think it's good for Australians to be watching their best players playing rugby, " he added.
France coach Philippe Saint-André lost one of his key players Yoann Huget in their opening round victory over Italy. His players recovered from that blow to crush Romania 38-11 and secure a bonus point after scoring five tries.
Sofiane Guitoune scored two of them at the Olympic Stadium in east London. Yannick Nyanga, Wesley Fofana and Gael Fickou were the other players to touch down.