Finn Russell insists Scotland cannot use anger to fuel their bid to kick-start their World Cup campaign. The Scots crashed to a 27-3 defeat to Ireland in their Pool A opener last Sunday and have faced some stinging criticism from fans and pundits since.
There is also a strong sense of frustration within the Scotland camp after making a complete mess of their chance to issue a statement of intent against the world’s top-ranked side. But Racing 92 pivot Russell is worried his team could come a cropper again if they allow that annoyance to boil over into rage when they get back to business against Samoa in Kobe on Monday.
“The frustration a couple of days after the game was definitely there, but we now have to put that behind us and move on to the Samoa game,” said the stand-off. “If we try and play and win on frustration and anger it’s not going to happen.
“We need to stick to our structure, stick to what we do and not think we’re going to beat them on frustration and anger. That’s not how you win international Test matches. We had a training session today and we’re going to have to put Ireland behind us now and get on to Samoa.
“I don’t think there’s one boy who came off the pitch who would think they’d had the best game. I include myself in that. For all of us, we know we can do better and we’ll be focusing on that this week. It’s always understandable that the fans aren’t happy. We know we can play better and our aim is to win games, play as well as we can and make the nation proud of us.
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“The criticism is understandable, we’ve got to take it on the chin and move on to next week, turn things around and put out a great performance for ourselves and the nation.”
Samoa could be missing centre Rey Lee-Lo and hooker Motu Matu’u at the Misaki Stadium after both were cited for dangerous tackles during Tuesday’s win over Russia. But Russell is not expecting the Pacific Islanders to go easy on his side.
"They were devoured by Ireland’s overwhelmingly superior intensity, dismembered like a baby seal tossed into a shark tank."
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 23, 2019
He said: “Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, the All Blacks are all very physical sides, we’ve played them before. It will be a tough game for us this weekend and mentally we have to front up for these big shots coming at us. It’s up to us to try to impose ourselves in defence especially on the big Samoan team. They are a very physical team and it should be good fun against them.
“It would be (a big loss for Samoa if Lee-Lo and Matu’u are banned). Any team that loses players through red cards is a loss, they can’t bring anyone in I don’t think, so they would maybe be a bit thin on numbers for the squad. If it was to happen to us it would be a big loss when you’ve got four crucial games so we’ll see what the outcome is. We just need to focus on us and put a good performance in.”
– Press Association
WATCH: Scotland legend Gavin Hastings relives the 1991 World Cup in the second episode of the RugbyPass series, Rugby World Cup Memories
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