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Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe tipped to eclipse Hogg’s record

Finn Russell believes Scotland have a backline to trouble any on the planet and highlighted the prolific wing pair Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe as they target the national try-scoring record.

The Scotland fly-half argues it is “inevitable” that Graham and Van der Merwe will overtake Stuart Hogg, who ended his 100-cap career at the top of the charts with 27 tries.

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Graham has already scored five tries at this World Cup – including four against Romania on Saturday – to move joint-second with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger on 24, while Van der Merwe, who was rested against Romania, is sixth on 21.

Russell hopes they can add to their tally in Scotland’s crucial World Cup shootout with Ireland in Paris on Saturday.

“I wouldn’t say [in] this game but it would be nice if they both went past it in this game,” Russell said when asked if they will overtake former full-back Hogg’s tally. “I would imagine so, it’s kind of inevitable, isn’t it, the way those two are playing.

“These guys can score three in a game easily enough so I think both of them will catch him if they stay fit and healthy, which is a shame for Hoggy. He had 100 caps, these boys have had less than 40. That’s credit to these boys and the style of rugby we’re playing that we’re getting the ball to the edges and they’re finishing it and doing their job out there.”

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The simplest scenario for Scotland to qualify for the quarter-finals in the final round of group matches would be to beat Ireland by more than eight points to leapfrog the world No 1 team in Pool B. It is, however, six years since they got the better of Ireland and Russell knows the backline will need to play to its optimum if they are to succeed.

“The quicker we can get the ball into Darcy and Duhan’s hands the better,” he said. “Inside of that Blair [Kinghorn] has been outstanding, Sione [Tuipulotu] and Shuggie [Huw Jones] are working so well together, we’ve got so many threats throughout the backline that the quicker we can get the ball there, the better.

“That doesn’t mean we rush to get the ball there but the quicker we can get it there in the right situation, the better. The forwards we’ve got are great as well and if we can get our set-piece right that will give us a great platform to launch off the back of and allow the boys outside of me to do what they can.”

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Duhan van der Merwe tries to slip a tackle against Tonga.Duhan van der Merwe tries to slip a tackle against Tonga. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Russell feels having players of Graham and Van der Merwe’s quality on the wing helps enhance his own game. “It’s great because I know that once the ball goes two or three sets of hands wide, as soon as Darcy and Duhan and Blair get their hands on the ball that something can happen,” he said.

“They can beat players one-on-one, they can get offloads, they can score from nothing, so it gives myself confidence to make sure the ball gets there and as a team we get a real confidence lift if these boys get the ball in their hands and start breaking tackles and getting us on the front foot.”