Scotland fly-half Finn Russell, center, has issued a 'call to arms' to his World Cup team-mates. Photo: AFP / Raymond Roig

Finn Russell has warned Scotland they will need more than anger and frustration to revive their Rugby World Cup campaign after a woeful start.

The Scots were outplayed during a 27-3 defeat by Ireland in their Pool A opener on Sunday and they have since lost flanker Hamish Watson and scrum-half Ali Price to tournament-ending injuries.

That reverse left Scotland needing to win their three remaining group matches against Samoa, Russia and Japan in order to reach the quarter-finals.

Samoa, 34-9 winners over Russia in their opening game, are next up for the Scots in Kobe on Monday and Russell has no doubts his side will raise their game.

“I think the players this week will be mentally and physically in the right place,” he said at a media conference. “I believe we will come out with some fire in the belly.”

But the playmaker said passion alone would be insufficient, adding: “If we try to 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,” he added. “That’s not how you win international Test matches.”


Scotland defense coach Matt Taylor has been struggling to explain the lackluster showing against Ireland.

“We can’t put our finger on it,” he said. “If I knew the answers I’d be able to turn it around directly and make sure it never happens again.”

The Australian added: “I’m frustrated, everybody is frustrated. But we have got to move on. The Ireland game is gone. If we dwell on that, it seeps into Samoa.”

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The Pacific island nation, narrowly beaten 44-38 by Scotland when they last met at Murrayfield in 2017, could be without center Rey Lee-Lo and hooker Motu Matu’u after the pair were cited for foul play against Russia.

“It will be a tough game for us and mentally we have to front up for the big shots coming at us,” Russell said.

Scotland’s preference is for an attacking, handling game, but they may need to look at alternatives to try-scoring, such as drop goals, to get points on the board.


Russell, though, has yet to land a drop goal in senior rugby union.

“I’ve tried a few in my career and never got one,” Russell, who plays his club rugby for Paris-based Racing Metro, admitted.

“I need a bit of practice.”

This World Cup has already seen some well-struck drop goals, with France edging past Argentina 23-21 thanks to Camille Lopez’s effort.

“France won when Lopez hit the drop-kick and South Africa hit one as well,” Russell said. “It’s a great way to get three points if you can do it.

“It’s something I’ll have in the back of my mind if we need it at the end of the game, or just to potentially get an advantage somewhere in their half to have a go,” he added.


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