BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Finn Russell became the seventh player in the history of the Rugby World Cup to celebrate his birthday with a try when he added the gloss to Scotland’s victory over Japan.
The stand-off turned 23 on Wednesday and turned in a champagne performance to help Vern Cotter’s side see off the Brave Blossoms in emphatic style in their opening Pool B fixture.
Russell crossed the whitewash for the Scots’ fifth and final try at Gloucester’s atmospheric Kingsholm to round off their 45-10 triumph and deny Japan a second shock success following their dramatic 34-32 win against South Africa on Saturday.
In scoring, the Glasgow Warriors fly-half followed in the footsteps of six previous players who have commemorated their birthday with a World Cup try.
New Zealand full-back Jeff Wilson kicked things off in 1999 and he was followed in 2003 by Manuel Dallan of Italy, Tonga’s Tevita Tu’ifua and Gheorghe Chiriac of Romania.
Australia’s Chris Latham earned himself an extra birthday present at the 2007 tournament and, prior to Russell’s 74th-minute try on Wednesday, Keith Earls of Ireland was the last player to achieve the feat four years ago.