Rugby World Cup 2015: Scotland v Japan

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Pool B

Scotland v Japan

Wednesday September 23, 23.30pm 

Japans extraordinary victory over South Africa has to go down as the greatest shock in Rugby World Cup history and it’s blown what looked a fairly routine pool wide open. Coming into the tournament Scotland would’ve mainly focused on their final two pool matches against South Africa and Samoa but now they will have to pay extra attention towards their opener. As a consequence, Vern Cotter has selected key player Stuart Hogg who could have easily been rested for one more game before he returned from injury. The Brave Blossoms’ confidence will be sky high but it is a huge ask to emulate their performance against The Boks after just a four day turnaround given how mentally and physically drained the players will be. With Saturday’s game being so tight and going right down to the wire it’s played perfectly into Scotland’s hands.

Scotland have a terrific recent record against minnows at World Cups (if we can still call Japan that). From 2003 they are six from six with an average winning score of 36-11 including four victories by more than 20 points. More recently they defeated USA and Canada in Cotter’s first games in charge in 2014 while in 2013 they claimed a 42-12 victory over their opponents here. That victory was their fourth from four against the Asian nation with other victories including World Cup pool matches in 1991 and 2003 and Scotland’s largest ever win, 100-8, in 2004. Due to Japan’s shock result at the weekend Scotland to win can be snapped up at 1.18 while Scotland/Scotland (HT/FT) at 1.37 looks great value. You’d have seen neither price as long pre-tournament.

That victory for Japan was their first at a World Cup since 1991 and in the interim they’ve had a poor record against Six Nations opponents in the tournaments with an average losing margin of 31 points over four games. As Saturday proved, this Japan team is getting better and there were some signs a shock might have been on the cards. Japan beat, an admittedly weakened, Wales team in 2013 and then backed it up with a triumph over Italy in 2014.

If Japan had lost to South Africa we would have been backing Scotland on the handicap and we don’t think their magnificent win changes anything. We expect Scotland to continue their domination over the minnows at World Cups.


Key Stats

  • Scotland haven’t got past the quarter-final since 1991
  • In the last three World Cups, Scotland are 6/6 against minnows with an average winning margin of 25 points. They were also winning at HT in every match.
  • Scotland recorded their largest ever win, 100-8, against Japan in 2004.
  • Japan have won one Wolrd Cup match since 1991
  • In the last three World Cups Japan have an average losing margin of 31 points against 6 Nations opponents


Recommendation: Scotland -14.5 Points 1.93