Japan could not produce a repeat of their weekend heroics as they slumped to a heavy 45-10 defeat in their second World Cup Pool B clash in Gloucester on 23 September. Eddie Jones' side were the toast of the sporting world after that truly stunning victory over two-time champions South Africa, but were given just three days to prepare for their next contest and proved unable to prevent an impressive Scotland from running in five second-half tries at an atmospheric Kingsholm.
Indiscipline was a major early factor for the Brave Blossoms, with man of the match Greg Laidlaw feasting on the number of penalty opportunities that came his way early on. Playing on his home ground, the captain successfully kicked four of five attempts from the tee before half-time but the score was kept close courtesy of a lineout and an unstoppable driving maul that saw Amanaki Mafi touch down to give Japan a brief lead.
The marauding number eight, so impressive again, was stretchered off shortly after the break with a knee injury and his departure clearly had a major impact as New Zealand-born flanker John Hardie got Scotland's campaign up and running after Matt Scott intercepted a rogue pass. Mark Bennett was the next to go over and although his foot looked very closed to the touchline, there was unusually no call for the Television Match Official (TMO) to intervene.
Tommy Seymour then showed good anticipation to intercept a ball meant for Male Sau and he sprinted clear to finish despite the last-ditch efforts of Kenki Fukuoka. Another try from Bennett made sure of the bonus point and a late effort from Finn Russell added further gloss to a commanding win.
Elsewhere on the fourth day of tournament action, Australia beat resilient southern hemisphere rivals Fiji 28-13 but were unable to snatch a vital bonus point in Cardiff. Head coach Michael Cheika elected to play two natural openside flankers in Michael Cooper and David Pocock, and the latter rewarded that faith by driving over the opening try from a maul in the 27th minute after Bernard Foley and Nemani Nadolo had exchanged penalties.
Another maul led to a second Pocock score soon after and prop Sekope Kepu beat Talemaitoga Tuapati to score the Wallabies' third and final try. Fiji crossed the line once during the 80 minutes when fly-half Ben Volavola showed nice skill to sell his man a dummy. No shock defeat as far as Australia are concerned, but they will want to move off of third spot in the dreaded Pool A as quickly as possible. They face Uruguay at Villa Park next.
In the final match of the evening, France showed 13 changes from the side who beat Italy for their contest against Romania and struggled for fluency before eventually securing a 38-11 win. Like Scotland, Les Bleus also ran in five tries and the first took 30 minutes to come as Sofiane Guitoune finished from close range. Racing 92's Yannick Nyanga added another before half-time and Guitoune scored his second with the aid of the TMO. Returning centre Wesley Fofana and midfield partner Gael Fickou also went over either side of a score from Valentin Ursache.