Rugby World Cup 2015: Japan brought crashing down to earth by Scotland

Story highlights

  • Scotland see off Japan with 45-10 win at Kingsholm Stadium
  • Japan unable to repeat heroics of Saturday's victory over South Africa
  • Scotland move top of Pool B after its first game of campaign

(CNN)After four days up on cloud nine, Japan has been rudely brought back down to earth.

After pulling off arguably the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history at the weekend with victory over two-time champion South Africa, Japan were then taught a lesson by Scotland, who ran out 45-10 winners Wednesday.
Saturday's stunning result suggested the "Brave Blossoms" might be able to record just a third ever Rugby World Cup win and a first over Scotland, yet they went on to be put to the sword at the Kingsholm Stadium as its opponent secured victory -- and a bonus point -- in its opening game of the tournament.
    It was a valiant effort from Japan, who came into the match sitting above Scotland in 11th in the world rankings, but Vern Cotter's men were ultimately the superior outfit -- and the fresher, having last played a game on September 5.
    Dan Carter: Rugby star's childhood dream comes true
    Dan Carter: Rugby star's childhood dream comes true

      JUST WATCHED

      Dan Carter: Rugby star's childhood dream comes true

    MUST WATCH

    Dan Carter: Rugby star's childhood dream comes true 02:28
    "Happy days with that result, but that is just the start hopefully for this team," Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw told ITV.
    "We talked at length about playing for 80 minutes and we have done that. I thought we were outstanding for the duration."
    Following Japan's heroics over South Africa, Scotland came into the match under enormous pressure -- but it proved to be the kind of pressure it was able to deal with.
    Laidlaw, playing at his home ground in Gloucester, ensured through his kicking that Scotland headed into the break with a 12-7 lead, although Japan did hold a brief first-half advantage after Amanaki Mafi scored the game's opening try, driving over following a line-out from five meters out.
    Mafi, one of six changes to the Japan side made by Eddie Jones following the win against the Springboks, was stretchered off through injury just after the break -- and things continued to get worse for his side from that point onwards.
    2015 Rugby World Cup by the numbers
    rugby world cup by the numbers soares pkg_00000212

      JUST WATCHED

      2015 Rugby World Cup by the numbers

    MUST WATCH

    2015 Rugby World Cup by the numbers 01:38
    Moments later, Scotland had landed its first try of the 2015 Rugby World Cup through John Hardie -- his first at international level -- as he dived over the line after Cotter's side recycled an attack the flanker helped create.
    Mark Bennett then added a second seven minutes later, before Tommy Seymour ran half the length of the pitch to touch down, putting the game out of sight for Japan in the process.
    To rub salt into the Japanese wounds, Bennett went on to touch down again to secure Scotland the bonus point, while Finn Russell added a fifth try six minutes from time as Laidlaw kept things ticking over, kicking 20 points in total.
    The bonus point was secured with Scotland scoring at least four tries, meaning it picks up five points overall, rather than the four that comes with a win.
    "Credit to Japan though, they were awesome against South Africa and really tough opponents again," Laidlaw added.
    "That win against South Africa blew the group wide open and meant it was important for us to win today."
    The victory moves Scotland to the top of Pool B on five points, with the side that finished bottom of this year's Six Nations without a win next taking on United States Sunday.
    As they did for the South Africa clash at the Brighton Community Stadium, Japan fans once again turned up in their droves in hope of witnessing another famous victory for their side -- boosting the attendance at the Kingsholm Stadium to 14,354 -- although it was not to be.
    But Japan will take heart from its first-half display and may still hold ambitions of advancing to the quarterfinals of a Rugby World Cup for the first time ever, with Samoa next up on October 3.