l’essentiel Grâce à sa victoire bonifiée contre les Tonga 45-17 dimanche à Nice, l’Ecosse conserve une chance de se qualifier pour les quarts de finale de la Coupe du monde de rugby dans le groupe B où se trouvent aussi l’Irlande et l’Afrique du Sud.
The shock victory achieved by Ireland against South Africa (13-8) the day before reached such a high level of intensity that we almost forgot about the third team in the « group of death ». The Scots, ranked fifth in the world, their best ranking in history, have not yet said their final word in this World Cup despite their opening defeat against the Springboks (18-3), the reigning champions.
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After a two-week break, they were in desperate need of a bonus against the powerful Tongans, and they managed to secure it even before halftime. Now, in order to reach the quarter-finals, they will need another bonus-point victory against Romania, which should be an easy task, and then defeat Ireland without allowing them the defensive bonus, which might prove to be a bit more challenging.
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Un « huitième » contre l’Irlande
The Scottish team, despite starting their tournament with a convincing victory, did not completely convince on Sunday of their ability to compete with the unbeaten Irish team. Their forwards were dominant, exemplified by a quick ball carry leading to the first try of the match by hooker George Turner (5th minute). The two wingers, Duhan van der Merwe (26th minute) and Kyle Steyn (30th minute), also scored tries, and Finn Russell, on the day after his 31st birthday, effectively directed his team’s game. However, Gregor Townsend’s men, in addition to a few mistakes, were occasionally frustrated by the Eagles, who showed a better performance than in their heavy defeat against the Irish team (59-16) last week.
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The Pacific team scored two tries, thanks to their winger Solomone Kata (20th), who had a great game, and their captain and prop from Bordeaux-Bègles, Ben Tameifuna (44th). The Tongans could have been reduced to 14 players as early as the 34th minute if the video referee had not found mitigating circumstances for Perpignan winger Afusipa Taumoepeau, who was guilty of a shoulder tackle to the head of Scottish captain Jamie Ritchie. The flanker did not return to the field, but it didn’t stop Scotland, who were more energetic, from widening the gap towards the end of the match with two more tries from fullback Blair Kinghorn (68th) and substitute winger Darcy Graham after the final whistle. Scotland is unlikely to need him either to defeat the modest Romania before the « round of 16 » against Ireland on October 7th at Stade de France. That’s a different story.